New Faces & Schemes Abound in HBO’s Return to Westeros
On the latest episode of Dead Talk Live, Viz and House of the Dragon-actor Graham McTavish discuss the stresses and pleasures of stepping into a massive cultural phenomenon.
Big Boots to Fill
With the highly-successful first season of the Game of Thrones spin-off recently wrapping up, you might think that the cast would have felt the strain of kick-starting a new storyline in the GoT universe. Not so, according to McTavish, who plays Ser Harrold Westerling in the HBO original series. “You sort of live in a strange bubble,” McTavish says of the pressure. “We tried not to let that interfere with what we were doing.”
A Test of Allegiance
Already a fan of the series – long before House of the Dragon – McTavish eagerly dove into his Kingsguard role. Stripping away the special effects, he actually draws parallels to traditional soap operas. “He [Westerling] is the representative of almost a warrior-monk order,” one of the few upright characters in the show, but all the same, a man expected to remain firmly in the shadows. “He really does cultivate a mask of indifference.” Renouncing the vices that tempt weaker men, and biting his tongue, his self-effacing behavior stands in sharp contrast to the malevolent plotting taking place around him, though showing a special bond with Princess Rhaenyra.
Without delving too far into spoilers, the royal guardian is inevitably thrust into conflict that forces him to make a decision. “He’s wrestling with so many conflicting feelings at that moment,” pulled in opposite directions, forced to come to grips with his conscience.
As for his subtle portrayal, McTavish said he merely lost himself in the scene, the greatest acting taking place between the lines, unconsciously. “I think it’s about really listening … If you are paying attention to it as the character, then there can only be really one reaction.”
In case you missed the interview, view the whole sit-down with Graham McTavish below. (Contains Some Minor Spoilers)
The first full season of House of the Dragon is now available to binge on HBO Max streaming.
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