Tom Hopper: When I Died on Game of Thrones

In honor of the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, IGN is taking a look back at some of the iconic characters who’ve fallen along the way, and the lasting impact they had on the story. These heroes and villains may not have made it to the end of the road, but their lives weren’t in vain – they stand as a fitting reminder that when you play the game of thrones, you win, or you die.

Aside from having one of the most memorable names in the Seven Kingdoms, Samwell’s brother Dickon Tarly is best known for playing a key part in Game of Thrones’ standout Season 7 episode “The Spoils of War” — and for his fiery demise.

Tom Hopper, who now plays Luther on Netflix’s Umbrella Academy (recently renewed for Season 2), looks back on his brief but ballsy role in Part 12 of our retrospective series, “When I Died on Game of Thrones.”

What do you remember about filming your death scene?

My death scene was my last day on set. We shot it in various different parts because it was the stunt guys [who came] in to do the live fire stuff – as much as I wanted to do it, but they said, “No, we can’t burn you alive.” And there were various different segments to it. So we did the CGI bit. We did the bit with the actual burning, and we just pieced it all together. But me and James Faulkner, who played my dad on the show, we were there right through to the end, literally. Actually we saw ourselves as a pile of ash on the floor. It was pretty surreal. We were just sort of like these burnt skulls on the ground. It was like, “Yeah, there we are.”

I did ask to keep my mask, which was the mask that the stunt guy wore that was the imagery of me, because we went to this prosthetic lab and … I had to sit with the face that I was going to pull when I got burned. So I had to sit like that while they did the whole cast of it, which is the most uncomfortable, weird thing. But it looked good on the mask, anyway. The stunt guy looked like me.

There’s a whole load of stuff going on in his head, though, because I wanted him to be a character that’s been brought up to be the perfect son for the house, and he’s got everything going for him. He’s gone to the right school. He’s become someone who can fight. He’s going to take over the family name. And for him to step up and do that… it’s him sort of taking on his training, taking on his destiny I suppose … That is a beautiful moment there between the dad and the son. I think, Randyll Tarly on paper… you see that humanity with him as well, that actually he does really care about his son. He puts across this imagery that he doesn’t really care and he’s just a hard-nosed dad, but actually he does care. And I think Dickon stepping up and taking the sacrifice is all that training that he’s got in the back of his mind.

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