Curtain Call: Ben Crompton


"Samwell Tarly, slayer of White Walkers, lover of ladies. As if we needed any more signs the world was ending."

Ben Crompton first appeared as the deadpanning Eddison “Dolorous Edd” Tollett in Game of Thrones season 2, when then-Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Jeor Mormont, took the brotherhood on its last great ranging.


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Edd was quickly paired up with characters like Samwell Tarly, Jon Snow, and Grenn. In fact, it was at the end of season 2, when Edd, Sam and Grenn were looking for dung to use as fuel for fire on the Fist of the First Men, that we were first introduced to the army of the dead.

It’s also when we really started to get to know Edd’s dour personality, as when Sam was talking about why he found Gilly, Craster’s daugher, so interesting. “The thing that you find so interesting about Gilly is that she said six words to you,” Edd said.

Crompton always found the perfect dry not for these kinds of lines; he’s funny, but he never laughed or even cracked a smile. Edd’s wit is also on display in season 3, when the remnants of the Night’s Watch are starving at Craster’s Keep. Brother Bannen dies, Lord Commander Mormont commands a fire be made to burn the body, and it’s Edd’s time to shine.

“I never knew Bannen could smell so good.” Dark but true, er, funny.

The writers started giving Crompton more to do in season 4 as Edd grew closer with characters. He came to respect Jon after the mission to execute the Night’s Watch mutineers at Craster’s Keep was a success and revealed a soft side when he calmed Sam’s nerves about Gilly after the attack on Mole’s Town. “She survived Craster. He was the worst shit I’ve ever met. She survived the long march to The Wall. She survived a White Walker for fuck’s sake! She might have got out.”

Season 5 brought Edd and Jon even closer. Despite what the wildlings did to their brothers, Edd loyally followed Jon to Hardhome and saw the Night King. By this point, he was Jon’s man through and through; he didn’t crack as many jokes as he used to, but Crompton got the stretch his acting muscles by playing up a more sincere side, which endeared the character further to fans. After Jon was murdered in season 5, Crompton shined as one of the few men in the Watch still loyal to his fallen friend, and was an important factor in getting the wildlings to reclaim Castle Black from the traitor Alliser Thorne.

Jon left Edd in charge of Castle Black when he left to reclaim Winterfell in season 6. The two wouldn’t see each other again until the eve of the Battle of Winterfell, where the two old friends shared one last hug.

Ben Crompton brought to life one of my favorite characters from the Song of Ice and Fire novels to the point where I see his face and hear his voice whenever I read through them. Eddison Tollet was a loyal man of the Night’s Watch, and though the Night King knocked down the Wall during his tenure as acting Lord Commander, he stood tall in the face of death and saved his brother Sam’s life before making the ultimate sacrifice. We shall never see his like again. And now his watch is ended.

All our best to Ben Crompton. The rest of the final season of Game of Thrones won’t be the same without him.

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