Tall – much taller than you might think – and smart (he was studying neuroscience at university before he quit to focus on acting), Hempstead Wright is, as you might expect, effusive in his praise of the show which has made him a star. Here, he reveals all about Bran, which actors he bonded with and what really happened in a key GoT scene.
What’s it like spending your teenage years on a hit show?
For me, I’ve had nothing but a blast. Getting to work in an adult environment since the age if 10 and have responsibilities and contribute to a genuine piece of filmmaking is a pretty unique thing.
Over the course of the show, did you bond with actors?
Because of the nature of Bran’s storyline, he is always off doing his own thing. The person I was closet with overall and still am closest with is a chap called Dean Charles Chapman) who played Tommen Baratheon and he is one of my very best friends, even though we never shared a single scene together. We met at a premiere and bonded over this crazy world we were in. Love him to bits.
One of the fan favourite Bran episodes of the series is The Door, season 6 episode 5. Can you tell us about filming that?
That’s an interesting one because my parts of that epic sequence are all in a vision. I’d got my big moments out of the way and (for most of the episode) I was literally lying down ‘warging’. I did actually fall asleep at one point while we were filming and the chaos was going on and a White Walker is walking through the cave and I’m there, “Like, what?”
How do you describe the Three-Eyed Raven?
The closest way of describing the Three-Eyed Raven is basically he’s a human vehicle for time and history. That is what he really is, this keeper and history book of everything that’s ever happened to mankind. He’s the closest thing to a God or something. I’m not getting ahead of myself, but that kind of thing.
When you started as Bran, did you have any idea of the direction your character would go?
No idea. You kind of always knew, because Bran was always having these weird visions it must be leading somewhere, there must some higher reason or higher power behind Bran. But I had no clue that this was going to happen.
He’s pretty powerful, then?
Definitely. That’s why Three-Eyed Raven is always so quiet and so measured with his words. He knows that this completely valuable information that could be used for all sorts of nefarious purposes, which is why the only person who should have that information is three Three-Eyed Raven because they sit there and they’re calm and they learn and listen and deal with it.
Are you as calm as the Three-Eyed Raven?
I don’t think I could be calm as Bran was in episode 3 of this season.
One of great things about Game of Thrones has been the fan theories. Do you have a favourite?
I’ll tell you the least favourite theory is that Bran is the Night King. The one that makes me laugh the most is that Varys (Conleth Hill) is a mermaid because you never see his legs and that’s how he gets between the seas really quickly. So, you tell me.
Who would you like to see on the Iron Throne?
I’d like to see someone from the Starks. I suppose Jon (Kit Harington), but he isn’t a Stark anymore. I wish we could have Ned Stark (Sean Bean) back. I think he would have been an honourable, measured leader. Alas.
So, you’re now back home and off to university. Do you know what you’ll do next?
I live by myself in London. And yes, back to university in September. Into the big, bad world. Life after Thrones? Who knows what that means?