(Warning: The following contains at least one key SPOILER from the past — sixth — season of HBO's Game of Thrones. If you're not yet all caught up with the show, then proceed with whatever level of caution your friendly neighborhood three-eyed-raven suggests is wise.)
Hell, they (almost) say, hath no fury like an actor scorned: With plenty of downtime during their work day and intermittent "resting" periods, actors are uniquely well situated to pick up grudges, feuds and assorted festering resentments. This is doubly true of actors who've been abruptly "let go" from a comfortable or well-earned gig, who are understandably often a little less than thrilled about having to go back out and shill for work.
Some sets, though, seem largely immune to such petty animosity — with the likes of The West Wing, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Game of Thrones all famed for having closely-knit casts. As with any party, though, not everyone seems to get an invitation. Y'see...
Game Of Thrones' Doran Martell Just Seriously Slammed HBO, And Its Dorne Approach
Indeed, from the sounds of his recent interview with StarTrek.com, one-time Dr. Julian Bashir (and, more recently, Prince Doran Martell) Alexander Siddig was less than thrilled by his time on the Game of Thrones set, and by his departure from the show.
As it turns out, being brutally killed off in a manner that fundamentally alters how things pan out in the novels that a show is based off of can leave you with a significant chip on your shoulder. As Siddig put it:
It’s funny, I’m not really sure what happened there. I was contracted to do at least four episodes this season, but then I was in LA doing publicity for something else, and I got a call at the Chateau Marmont and there were familiar voices on the other end of the phone. It was one of those guys, and because they didn’t introduce themselves it was like, “Hi, it’s me.” I was like, “Is that David or Daniel?” Anyway, they said, “You know what this phone call is about.” I was like, “Yeah, well, I guess I do.” “So we were going to kill you off at the end of last season, but we decided that we’re going to have to kill you off at the beginning of next season.” I was like, “OK, life goes on.” But there was something wrong about that because I had been contracted for four episodes in the following season, so if they were going to kill me off at the end of the last season why would they contract me for those four episodes? Because it costs them money whether I do them or not, so it’s not great business sense to do it just in case. So something happened; I have no idea what. There was an enormous amount of fan excitement when I got named to be on the show, and everyone was like, “Oh my god, yes, Doran Martell. He’s going to be great as Doran Martell.” That might have been the kiss of death. Maybe they didn’t want quite that much attention on that character. Maybe they thought, “Well, let’s prove that we’re going to stray from the books. We’re going to do something else, and he will be our first example of that.” So maybe that could have been the case. Or maybe I just screwed up. Maybe I said the wrong thing to the wrong person.
At which point things took a turn for the entertainingly speculative, as Siddig revealed his suspicions that HBO leaked the first four episodes of Season 5 itself:
The internet has changed the landscape since 1992. Pretty much you had a blog with no pictures in 1992, and you couldn’t really get anything exciting on the web. But now you can leak pictures and footage, and people can get the episodes and the scripts and whatnot. So I think the secrecy is kind of understandable, but also there is an element of hype about it that makes it… the more secretive it is, the more special it is. And certainly 'Game of Thrones' plays that. They misinform the crowd and they give them tidbits to send them in wrong directions. So, for example, last season, I believe that the first few episodes were stolen and downloaded online, and everybody got to see them before the show actually aired, and everybody was furious at HBO and whatnot. I don’t know if you remember. I am almost positive that those four episodes were leaked by HBO themselves. So there is an enormous amount of spin going on. I can’t tell you that for sure; that’s just my opinion, but it’s games; everybody’s playing these games.
And, finally, of course, Siddig offered up a fairly solid rationalization for why his sudden departure was probably a good thing in the long run:
From an actor’s point of view, professionally you don’t want to be on a show like that for too long, unless you are one of the top leads who originated the show, because your schedule gets kind of messed up. You don’t earn as much as you would if you were doing another show, because they’re 'Game of Thrones,' and they don’t have to pay anyone. So it’s kind of a blessing in disguise. I just moved away, and being on it at all sticks, and everyone goes, “Oh, the guy from 'Game of Thrones'!” It doesn’t really matter that you weren’t on it very long.
The main takeaway from all that, though? Don't expect Prince Doran to turn up in flashback in Season 7.
Want to know more about what we will see in Game of Thrones Season 7, though? Well, fear not — we've got you covered right here.
In the meantime, though, what do you think? Were you disappointed to see Prince Doran depart the show so abruptly? Let us know below!