Curtain Call: Joseph Mawle


After appearing Game of Thrones sporadically throughout the last seven seasons, Benjen Stark’s life, such as it was, has finally come to an end. Played by the actor Joseph Mawle, the character has always come in at exactly the right time to help the Starks when they were in danger.

Benjen was the youngest child of his generation of the Stark Family, behind Eddard, Lyanna, and Brandon. Two of his siblings were killed in Robert’s Rebellion, leaving Eddard to run Winterfell. Benjen eventually took the Black and became the First Ranger of the Night’s Watch. It’s fitting that Benjen would be the one to save Jon from the menace beyond the Wall, considering that he was partially responsible for inspiring the Bastard of Winterfell to enter the Night’s Watch in the first place.

Benjen got his biggest chunk of screen time in the first season, when he rode with Jon to Castle Black before heading north of the Wall on a ranging trip. His horse comes back, but he never does. We don’t see him again until season 6, when he saves Bran Stark and Meera Reed from a pack of wights. We learn that he died during his ranging trip, but that the Children of the Forest brought him back as a wight, albeit one still in control of his mental faculties. He could never go home again, but he could help his family, many of whom seemed bound and determined to venture into the same dangerous lands where he died, survive.

Benjen performed his final act of kindness in “Beyond the Wall,” when he saved Jon Snow from being torn apart by another group of wights. Benjen gives Jon his horse and turns to face the wights. It’s there that he dies for the final time.

We need to give a round of applause to Joseph Mawle, the played Benjen — often thanklessly — in three seasons. Despite appearing only rarely, we were always excited to see him, in part because of the gravitas and dignity Mawle brought to the role. It takes a fantastic actor to make an impression with such limited time.

After graduating from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Mawle went on to have a number of popular credits, including Thomas Lincoln in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter in 2012. He’s also appeared in shows like Ripper StreetSense8, and the TV mini-series Merlin. He’ll next have a role in the post-apocalyptic drama QEDA. Although he made the absolute most of the time he had on Game of Thrones, we hope he gets featured more in future projects. He deserves it.

Next: We break down the trailer for 'The Dragon and the Wolf' shot by shot

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