Not everyone could survive the final season of Game of Thrones — and accepting his character’s fate wasn’t easy for Conleth Hill.
On Sunday, HBO gave fans a parting look at the making of the beloved fantasy series with a two-hour documentary, The Last Watch. Some of the most interesting moments were the emotional table reads, where certain actors learned their characters’ outcomes for the very first time.
Hill — who played Lord Varys since season 1 — had a tough time finding out that the Spider would meet his end at the hands of Daenerys Targaryen’s (Emilia Clarke) last surviving dragon in the penultimate episode, “The Bells.”
In footage of the moment, a visibly upset Hill, 54, can be seen folding up his script and thrusting it onto the table. Lena Headey, who played Cersei Lannister, reaches over to give his arm a comforting squeeze as a sympathetic Clarke looks on.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly after the episode aired, Hill admitted to feeling like a “failure” after he was written off.
“I took it very personally,” he said. “I took it as a person, not as an actor or an artist. 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,” he continued. “I don’t think anybody who hasn’t been through it can identify with it… But you take it personally, you can’t help it. At the time, nothing could console me. I kept thinking: ‘What did I do wrong?’ There wasn’t any pre-warning.”
Though Hill told EW his time on the show was “overwhelmingly positive and brilliant,” he argued that his character’s development went downhill after the sixth season.
“It just felt like after season 6, I kind of dropped off the edge,” he said, acknowledging that his thoughts were “all personal and selfish.”
“I can’t complain because it’s six great seasons and I had some great scenes these last two seasons,” he added. “But that’s when it changed for me a little.”
The actor also expressed his wish to have had a final scene with nemesis Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, played by actor Aidan Gillen.
“I was very bummed to not have a final scene with him,” he said. “It would have been great to have had one more meeting with Littlefinger. I think they tried to make that work and couldn’t.”
“That’s been my feeling the last couple seasons, that my character became more peripheral, that they concentrated on others more. That’s fine,” he acknowledged. “It’s the nature of a multi-character show. It was kind of frustrating … the last couple seasons weren’t my favorite.”
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