*Warning: this post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 6, as well as a sprinkle of future speculation*
HBO protect Game of Thrones spoilers more ferociously than The Mountain leering over anyone who dare approach Cersei Lannister. Considering such extreme secrecy, Ian McShane's amusing and nonchalant reveal a couple of months back caused quite a stir.
For those who have forgotten, in a manner akin to a drunken distant relative at a Christmas party, McShane unreservedly told reporters that both Tywin Lannister and Stannis Baratheon were dead, as well as revealing the show would "bring back a much-loved character who everybody thinks is dead."
When he was asked about how he felt about revealing so much in a show that guards its privacy so stringently, he suggested anyone offended should "get a f*cking life. It’s only tits and dragons.”
Humanity And Murderers Anonymous
The 73-year-old actor has now been (and gone) on the hit HBO show, featuring in Season 6's "Broken Man" episode as Brother Ray, a kindhearted, zen-like reformed warrior who befriends a recovering Hound (Rory McCann).
Despite his wise nature and apparent idyllic surroundings, the end of the episode climax's with Ray's death, along with the rest of his comrades in a brutal slaying at the hands of the Brotherhood Without Banners.
Now that he's free to articulate himself freely without the fear of spreading more spoilers, McShane has spoken of his brief furore into the fantasy world of Westeros, where the Deadwood actor feels Brother Ray played a vital role in the bigger picture. He told Entertainment Weekly:
"It’s like he’s holding an improvised meeting — not Alcoholics Anonymous, but Murderers Anonymous. He’s an ex-warrior who’s grown tired of the murdering life and trying to lead another kind of life. But I think my main use was to re-introduce a character people thought was long gone and who needed some humanity.
"The Hound has not been shown much humanity in his life, and he gets a little from Brother Ray and carries that forward into his character, which makes it more interesting for those who watch him."
The Hound: On A Mission Of Vengeance?
McShane certainly has a point; although the Hound is barbaric and uncompromising, he has occasionally etched an expression of intrinsic sensitivity on his scarred and battle-hardened mug. That being said, the brutality that comes so naturally to him appears imminent following on from the end of Episode 7, something McShane agrees with. He added:
"I don’t know what happens in the next episodes. But if they’re following the Western code, he’ll seek to avenge me, then continue his life in a different way. You have to have revenge, and expedient revenge. I don’t believe in the death penalty, but I understand personal vengeance."
Considering the amount of time he spent on screen, McShane had an integral role, setting up Sandor Clegane's welcome return to action as he vengefully set off into the distance, axe in hand. Could this lead on to "Cleganebowl," the theory that the Hound will eventually battle his evil older brother, The Mountain? Anything is possible.
Not bad for "tits and dragons."
Check out the preview for the next episode, "No One," below:
What do you think the Hound will do next?
Source: Entertainment Weekly