\'Game Of Thrones\': Ciaran Hinds On Mance Rayder Twist
Kit Harington as Jon Snow and Ciaran Hinds as Mance Rayder in ‘Game of Thrones’ (Helen Sloan/HBO)
Things got very dark at The Wall in Sunday night's "Game of Thrones" Season 5 premiere.
(Spoiler Alert! This story contains reaction to "The Wars To Come" episode of HBO's "Thrones." Bookmark this link to come back to later if you haven't watched.)
Mance Rayder, the King Beyond The Wall, met his end after he refused to bend the knee to hardliner King Stannis Baratheon. But, actor Ciarán Hinds, who spent several seasons bringing to life the complex player, had a feeling that Mance's time was limited after King Stannis Baratheon and Davos Seaworth arrived to save the men of the Night's Watch (and all of Westeros) from the wildling attack at the end of Season 4.
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"I had no idea what was going to happen. I had a kind of inkling that when Stephen [Dillane] and Liam [Cunningham] turned up outside the tent that I might be in soapy water, as they say," Ciarán told
Executive Producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (Dan) were the ones who delivered the news.
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"I got a lovely email from David and Dan just explaining to me, very courteously, that as I know, all men must die, I was next up and it had been a pleasure and ta-ra for now," he told
. "It was a lovely email actually. ... And I was going like, 'Oh, okay,' and I wrote, I hope, a courteous one back, saying, 'I understand,' and, 'Thank you for the ride.'"
Leaving so early into Season 5 sadly meant that Ciarán wouldn't get to trade many lines with the man playing the other king -- Stannis, or the one playing Stannis' right hand man -- Davos.
"I was rather sad not to work with them because they're fantastic actors -- Stephen and Liam," he said.
It also denied him the opportunity to work with Carice van Houten, who Ciarán only just met on set.
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"Carice, I don't know. I just know that she's a very beautiful woman and she set me on fire. … She set me on fire and that's all I really knew about her, apart from saying 'Hello.' Then she toasted me," he said.
While Mance's ending was unexpected, the King Beyond The Wall remained true to his beliefs and his wildling people until the end.
His final scenes – one with Jon Snow, where he explained why he wouldn't be willing to bend the knee, and the other with Stannis, when he made his choice clear again -- featured some quiet moments, where what was unsaid told more of a story than any dialogue could.
"I think they probably wrote that to give -- if they knew they were getting rid of Mance quicker than they may have -- to give some kind of dignity [to the character] on his way out," Ciarán said of the scene with Kit's Jon and his Mance Rayder.
Michael Slovis, who directed the Season 5 opener, approached the Jon/Mance scene in a way that gave it some room to breathe.
"He said we should take our time with it," Ciarán said.
Although Jon tried to kill Mance at the end of Season 4 (a plan that was thwarted when Stannis' army arrived at The Wall), the two characters had respect for one another. With Mance now gone from the show,
asked Ciarán what kind of influence his character had on Jon Snow.
"I mean, he'll probably turn into a drunken womanizer," Ciarán joked. "No, I don't think he would because you never saw Mance having a drink or with a woman. He probably was the only person who wasn't like that."
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Like many, Ciarán seems to subscribe to the theory that Jon is poised for great things.
"I think obviously Jon -- 'cause there's something in the storyline and I'm not sure exactly -- it's almost like he's being groomed through a hard way to be trained to be a leader of men. Even though he's younger, that he's been through so much to learn what it means," Ciarán said. "And I suppose from every character he comes across, he has to work out what positive side to that character would be useful to have listened to as he progress into what he needs to do, which is probably -- but I could be wrong -- to be some kind of a leader of men. So it depends on who you listen to, really. And he did listen to Mance, and he was strong when he talked to Mance in return. So he had already learnt quite a bit -- has learnt quite a bit already."
"Game of Thrones" continues Sundays at 9 PM ET/PT on HBO.
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