The pool of would-be rulers of Westeros got a little smaller on Sunday night’s “Game of Thrones.”
(SPOILER: This story contains plot details from “Game of Thrones,” Season 2, Episode 5.)
Continuing to prove that the only thing predictable in “GOT” is that no one is safe, Renly Baratheon became the show’s latest casualty after he was stabbed and murdered in his tent by a shadow in the shape of his older brother, Stannis Baratheon. The incident was the conclusion to last week’s creepy cliffhanger where, the night before the two Baratheon brothers and their armies were to meet for battle in a field, Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) rowed Melisandre (Carice van Houten) to a cave, where she gave birth to a shadow. (Click HERE to watch Liam talk about filming the birth scene cliffhanger)
British actor Gethin Anthony, who played Renly, knew his kingly character’s end was coming long before it was filmed, but he told Access he was “excited” when he first got the script.
“I obviously knew through reading the books that it was gonna happen at some point, but I think when I first read it as an event, I was just kind of like ‘Wow! That’s kind of cool,’ ‘cause it kind of happens in such a way that you’re not really expecting it,” Gethin told AccessHollywood.com. “Even if you’re a reader of the books, I feel like you don’t think it’s necessarily going to happen right at that moment. As a reader — I was just like ‘Ooh, wow!’ and excited and [I] was glad it was going to happen in a kind of cool way.”
Filming the scene, which sees Renly cut down by the shadow, was a multi-day process, involving Gethin, Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark) and Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth).
Speaking to Access, Gethin gave credit to Gwendoline, who plays the strong lady knight who is beyond devastated by the loss of not only her king, but the man she had a secret love for.
“Bless Gwendoline Christie — she was in armor for hours on end. But we filmed a really big day of a big scene with myself and Michelle and Gwen’s in there as well. Gwen then had to do all the fight stuff with the guards who rush in,” Gethin continued, referencing some of Renly’s knights, who run into the tent after his death and — because she’s embracing Renly’s body (and because they never liked having a woman knight in their ranks to begin with) — immediately assume that Brienne cut Renly down.
“There’s all this exciting stuff going on and basically, they just kept saying, ‘Oh, this is when this will happen.’ So I just had to kind of… fall,” Gethin continued of how the dark moment was filmed. “It must’ve been like a month later, I got invited to the same studio again, and there was a huge crew around, and a massive sort of green tent thing, in front of which I stood… Myself and David [Petrarca], the director… we went into a lot more detail exactly about that moment and just physical things like where in your body it’s gonna get you and how long it’s gonna be in your body and all of that.”
A number of high profile characters have met their end in unusual ways on the show — including the “Golden Crown” that took out Harry Lloyd’s Viserys Targaryen in Season 1. When asked how Renly’s exit compared to the others, Gethin – who had not yet seen his exit episode – gave a nod to his pal.
“See, Harry wins. That’s the thing,” Gethin laughed, thinking of how his friend of almost a decade exited the series after Khal Drogo poured melted gold on Viserys’ head. “Well, Sean [Bean, Ned Stark] has a real claim to that as well.” (FLASHBACK VIDEO: Click HERE to watch Harry talk about his exit from Season 1)
Gethin shared the stage with many celebrated actors and behind the scenes “GOT” crew members while playing Renly across two seasons, and he told Access he was honored to be a part of the show.
“It’s just been incredible to be a part of it and I genuinely couldn’t be more thankful that I got the opportunity to just work with those people. And also it’s great material as well,” he said. “It’s been a real pleasure from start to finish.”
Looking ahead, Gethin said he hopes to head back to the stage, as well as introduce new audiences to his short film, “David.” (Click HERE to watch the spooky “David” trailer)
“There’s a couple of things I’ve got on the burner, some of which is the stage. I’ve just finished producing a short film that I’ve been working on,” he told Access. “I’m putting that into festivals and working on a duologue that I’m going to be doing on stage later in the year, but we just don’t know when. So, [it’s] all scheduling now.”