Rupert Vansittart: “Littlefinger is a big problem for someone like Yohn Royce”


Rupert Vansittart has played Lord Yohn Royce, known as Bronze Yohn, on Game of Thrones since season 4. A skilled military commander, Royce is currently managing the military might of the Vale for Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, the Lord Protector of the Vale. But according to Vansittart, things aren’t entirely rosy between Royce and Littlefinger, whom Vansittart calls “a shocking individual.”

“This is not a man who Yohn Royce, as an aristocrat, would ever want to be dealing with, would ever be wanting to take orders from,” he said during a press conference at Con of Thrones. He remembers a scene from season 6 as particularly galling for Royce. Recall the scene in “Book of the Stranger” where Littlefinger, freshly returned to the Vale from King’s Landing, suggests to Robyn Arryn, technically the ruler of the Vale, that he order his army to go north. Lord Royce, onto Littlefinger’s sliminess, questions the plan, and Littlefinger appeals to the immature Robyn for direction. Freshly bribed with a new pet falcon, Robyn is ready to do whatever Littlefinger wants, including throwing Yohn Royce through the Moon Door.

This puts Lord Royce into a position where he has to grovel for his life, which he does not enjoy. “[It] changes the relationship,” Vansittart said, “because I become subservient in that moment to Littlefinger…and that is a disgusting situation. Littlefinger, for god’s sake?”

It should be noted that Vansittart had nothing but wonderful things to say about Aidan Gillen, who plays Littlefinger. Still, their characters are at odds. The situation could get awkward in season 7, now that they’re ensconced at Winterfell with no Moon Door in sight.

And they’re not alone — they’re in there with Sansa Stark, Jon Snow, wildlings, and a bunch of northern clans. Jon, of course, wants their help to defeat the White Walkers, but as he thought back on season 6, Vansittart recalled that the support of the Vale isn’t automatic. “This is an issue,” he said. “We are not naturally gonna be supporters or allies, from what I remember…But I think that Jon puts forward the case that is so compelling that we all realize we have to just get into line.

"I think self-preservation and self-interest probably brings us in…And I think we probably appreciate there is only one who can command this situation, and that’s Jon Snow."

What’s coming for Yohn Royce in season 7? Obviously, Vansittart didn’t want to give anything away. The closest he got to a tease was this: “Season 7 is what it is. It’s an interesting season. I may or may not survive season 7. We will see.” Excellent hedging, sir.

However, Vansittart did reveal something about what he won’t be doing: fighting in any big battles. “I’ve never been in a battle in Game of Thrones, so I don’t know what the difference is,” he said when discussing the kinds of battle scene he took part in when filming movies like Braveheart. “I would imagine that things are now way more computer-ed.”

Keep in mind that just because Vansittart didn’t take part in any season 7 battle scenes doesn’t mean there aren’t any set in the North. After all, Yohn Royce was likely involved in the Battle of the Bastards even if we didn’t see him. It’s also possible that the Northern front is quiet this year. In the wake of the Battle of the Bastards, it’s probably better to prepare for when those White Walkers inevitably get over that Wall…

Next: Video: Sophie Turner, John Bradley, Rory McCann and more tease Game of Thrones season 7

Other tidbits:

  • Vansittart talked about why all the Northern characters talk like Sean Bean. Apparently, the producers asked Bean to do an Received Pronunciation accent for season 1, and he declined. “And that’s why it’s all broad northern.”
  • Things you don’t think about while watching Jon’s King in the North scene: How hot all the actors are, in their armor and under stage lights. But the production compensated by outfitting the actors with suits that pumped cold water across their bodies with tubes. “It saves you a fortune in CGI. You don’t have to computer the sweat off our faces.”

Thanks to Vansittart for talking with us, and may Yohn Royce live to see season 8.