Spoiler alert: Game of Thrones isn’t a series known for its happy endings. And fans certainly aren’t getting many in the show’s final season. Several major characters met their end in the fifth episode of season 8, and now the actor who played Varys has revealed that he wasn’t thrilled with how his story ended.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Conleth Hill opened up about the experience of seeing his character burned to death by the Mad Queen Daenerys, saying he took it “very personally.”
“I took it as a person, not as an actor or an artist. I understood the reactions of previous actors who had been in the same position a lot more than I did at the time. You can’t help feeling that you failed in some way, that you haven’t lived up to some expectation that you didn’t know about. The only thing that consoles you is people who worked a lot harder than you are in the same boat. So that helps. I don’t think anybody who hasn’t been through it can identify with it. They think, ‘What’s all the fuss about? You’re all finishing anyway.’ But you take it personally, you can’t help it.”
There was some bright side for Hill, though, as he felt Varys died a “noble” death after the Master of Whispers revealed to the world the true parentage of Jon Snow in an attempt to make sure Westeros had a better ruler than the vengeful and sadistic Daenerys.
“He was absolutely true to his word the whole way through. All he wanted was the right person on the throne and a fair person on the throne. He said it so many times in the scripts.”
“[Varys didn’t] have the distraction of love or desire or any of those things. And the people he needed to see clearly were both in love. So that makes perfect sense. And now with hindsight, I’m okay, but I really was inconsolable.”
Still, the death stings, especially considering how little Varys has been given to do over the past two seasons. If you were frustrated by that, well, you’re not alone, as Hill revealed he wasn’t too happy with his character’s arc either.
“I was very bummed to not have a final scene with [Littlefinger]. I was bummed not to have any reaction to him dying, if he was my nemesis. That’s been my feeling the last couple seasons, that my character became more peripheral, that they concentrated on others more. That’s fine. It’s the nature of a multi-character show. It was kind of frustrating. As a whole it’s been overwhelmingly positive and brilliant but I suppose the last couple seasons weren’t my favorite… It just felt like after season 6, I kind of dropped off the edge. I can’t complain because it’s six great seasons and I had some great scenes these last two seasons. But that’s when it changed for me a little.”
Hill also said that he felt like Varys was acting out of character in those two seasons, as the master spy suddenly seemed to have no idea what was going on, and exerted no influence over events.
“Last season and this season there were great scenes and then I’d come in and kind of give a weather report at the end of them, ‘film at 11.’ So I thought he was losing his knowledge. If he was such an intelligent man and he had such resources, how come he didn’t know about things?…that was frustrating for a couple seasons.”
Overall, though, Hill stressed that his experience on Game of Thrones has been “brilliant.” And he doesn’t think fans will be disappointed with the series finale.
“I don’t think they’ll feel cheated. The fan favorites are all there.”
Well…all except one, anyway.