Curtain Call: Tom Hopper


This summer, Game of Thrones fans were excited to hear that Tom Hopper of Black Sails fame was appearing in season 7. The role of Dickon Tarly (previously played by Freddie Stroma) was recast with the brawnier Hopper, and while he was ultimately a minor character, Hopper made the role his own more than Stroma did, and racked up some good moments before his death by dragonfire.

Hopper’s Dickon lasted from “Stormborn” to “Eastwatch” (4 episodes). He hugged his father Randyll Tarly’s flank for introductions in the first two episodes, but was able to sink his teeth into some dialogue and action in the latter two.

Macall B. Polay – HBO

Hopper did a great job portraying a noble son inexperienced in war who nonetheless proves himself worthy in battle. His most memorable moments include staring uncomprehendingly while Bronn laughed at his name and saving Jaime Lannister from a Dothraki rider during the Loot Train Attack. His best scene was probably his last: facing a fiery execution by Daenerys and her dragon, Dickon chose to perish alongside his father rather than bend the knee and ensure the survival of his house. It was a brave, honorable choice, if not the smartest one — he was truly his father’s son.

Dickon Tarly was one of those characters who was never going to be a huge player, so getting the charismatic Tom Hopper in the role was a great choice. Square-jawed and stoic, Hopper was able to project Dickon’s personality — straight-shooting, loyal, and maybe not that bright — with a minimum of dialogue, which is all he got. So Long, Dickon (yes, the name is worth a Bronn-guffaw) — we hardly knew ye.

Hopper, like many English actors, first cut his teeth on the stage, appearing in productions of The Tempest and The Way of the World while studying acting at Rose Bruford College. His first on-screen role was as a character named Hugh ‘Chewy’ Mullen in a 2007 episode of the TV series Casualty.

It didn’t hurt that Hopper’s early TV and film roles linked him to both the fantasy genre and the career paths of Game of Thrones actors. He appeared in the Doctor Who (2007) and Merlin (2012) TV series, both of which have hosted plenty of once and future GoT alumni, and worked alongside Peter Dinklage in the 2013 cosplay comedy Knights of Badassdom.

BLACK SAILS, Tom Hopper, (Season 3, 2016). photo: David Bloomer / ©Starz! / courtesy Everett Collection

Period fantasy proved Hopper’s strong suit — he played the role of Asbjorn in the feature Northmen: A Viking Saga (2014) and had a stint on the TV series Barbarians Rising (2016). Of course, Hopper’s career launched into the stratosphere when he landed the role of Billy Bones on Starz’ popular Black Sails pirate TV series (2014-2017). That’s the show most of us recognize him from.

Next: HBO releases official photos from Game of Thrones Episode 706, “Beyond the Wall”

Hopper is currently attached to star in a film project titled Climber. We wish him luck.

As for Stroma, who did a fine job with the character in his lone season 6 scene, he recently played H.G. Wells in ABC’s Time After Time — you can also see him as Cormac McLaggen in the final three Harry Potter movies.

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