The Aussies In Westeros: The Local Flavour Of Game Of Thrones

August 7, 2018
Yes, there have been a few Aussies quietly rampaging their way through Game Of Thrones across its seven acclaimed seasons.

NOAH TAYLOR (LOCKE) The famously against-the-grain Aussie actor who first won our hearts in The Year My Voice Broke, and then consistently confounded us with diverse roles in a wide variety of international releases (Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Almost Famous, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou) and local productions (Shine, He Died With A Felafel In His Hand) brought all of his perverse gravitas to bear on the role of Locke, a vicious thug and gifted hunter aligned with the repulsive House Bolton. Though a minor role, Taylor embraces Locke’s malevolence with glee, and also gets three of the show’s most memorable moments. First, he sadistically chops off the sword hand of Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), then he throws Brienne Of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) into the Harrenhal bear pit just for a chuckle, and finally, he gets a well-deserved nasty death, with his neck snapped by Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), who has “warged” into the body of hulking simpleton, Hodor (Kristian Nairn). “He does get a sadistic pleasure out of other people’s suffering, but he’s a mercenary, basically, and he plays on swapping power allegiances,” Noah Taylor told Vulture. “But I don’t think he’s pure evil or anything like that. And Jaime Lannister had it coming!”

BRENDAN COWELL (HARRAG) Famous at home for his work as an actor (Noise, Beneath Hill 60), playwright (Rabbit), and director (Ruben Guthrie), Brendan Cowell was bestowed the small but juicy part of seafaring Ironborn raider, Harrag, on Game Of Thrones. Loyal to Gemma Whalen’s Yara Greyjoy, Harrag’s ship is one of the few to survive the assault on the Targaryen Fleet by Euron Greyjoy’s (Pilou Asbæk) Iron Fleet. He gets to engage in several mean-spirited put-downs of the constantly put-upon Theon Greyjoy before the pair go at it in a vicious hand-to-hand fight, which famously features Harrag uselessly landing a kick in Theon’s groin, which is no longer a weak spot “thanks” to what the despicable Ramsay Bolton did to him. Harrag is last seen in Season 7 lying on the ground in a bloody heap after Theon gets the better of him. Cowell made sure, however, that Harrag doesn’t appear to be dead. “I didn’t do the blank-eye look,” he laughed to The Daily Mail. The actor certainly enjoyed his run on the show…which might continue. “Game Of Thrones gives you full license to play really carnal characters because it’s a brutal world,” he told News. “You can be incredibly violent and you don’t have to give a reason…everyone will kill and eat anything they need to at any time. So as an actor, it’s a wonderful world… you can just be ferocious behind the eyes and not question it.”

ESSIE DAVIS (LADY CRANE) Best known as the horribly haunted mother in the top-notch Aussie horror flick, The Babadook, and as the crime solving TV heroine of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Aussie actress, Essie Davis, was a surprise addition to the cast of Game Of Thrones, appearing in three episodes as Lady Crane, the leading actress in Izembaro’s (Richard E. Grant) theatre troupe. Though a brief run, the eminently talented Essie Davis, gets some plum moments, amusingly portraying Lena Headey’s Cersei Lannister in a bawdy, farcical stage play called “The Bloody Hand”, which depicts several key moments from Game Of Thrones, and then playing nurse and protector to Maisie Williams’ wounded Arya Stark. Davis is also afforded a memorable, with her throat gruesomely slit by the sour faced Waif (Faye Marsay), doing the murderous bidding of The Faceless Men. Hilariously, Essie Davis had not watched Game Of Thrones prior to her casting, and knew little of the show’s cult appeal and obsessive fan base. “After I got the call, there was a serious 50-hour catch up. And yes, I understand now,” the actress told The Huffington Post Australia.

KEISHA CASTLE-HUGHES (OBARA SAND) Okay, before you start hurling abuse from cross the ditch, we would instantly like to point out that Keisha Castle-Hughes – who unforgettably burst onto the cinema scene with her wonderful, Oscar nominated performance in the brilliant 2002 New Zealand drama, Whale Rider – was actually born in the town of Donnybrook in Western Australia. So yes, this is one Kiwi that we can claim as our own with some degree of truth. In Game Of Thrones, Keisha Castle-Hughes scored the eye catching role of the lethal warrior, Obara Sand, the eldest child of Prince Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal), and one of the notoriously dangerous Sand Snakes. Proficient in the art of spear-fighting, Obara gets one of Game Of Thrones’ many, many, many memorable death scenes when the nasty Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) rams the warrior’s own weapon into her stomach, and then impales her at the head of his ship with the spear. “It’s a really cool way to go out,” Castle-Hughes told E. “One of the greatest things about [Game of Thrones] is that it’s always promised to give each character an on-screen death. However, they’ve fallen into – after seven seasons – having to top the last death every time. We can’t forget the end of Season 6, when we lost half the cast in one massive explosion, so how do you top that? They did it.”

CONAN STEVENS (GREGOR CLEGANE) Raised in the NSW coastal town of Newcastle, the towering Conan Stevens worked in the stunt field before taking a decidedly unconventional route to steady film work. After a neck injury put an end to his dreams of becoming a professional wrestler, Stevens headed to Thailand. “As there was little film work in Australia, and even less for an aspiring 7ft musclebound stunt actor, I came up with this simple plan to move to where the work was,” he told FilmInk. Taking his career by the scruff of the neck, Stevens penned the 2009 actioner, Bangkok Adrenaline, which he devised as a showcase for his skills. The ploy worked, with the film playing for seven weeks in Thailand before being released internationally on DVD. Largely as a result of his internet presence, and network of fans and fantasy enthusiasts, Stevens then booked a great role on Game Of Thrones. Who could ever forget Conan Stevens as the monstrous Gregor Clegane (later to become better known as The Mountain), who, yes, decapitates a horse during a brutal joust in the show’s first season! Disappointingly, Conan Stevens lost the role of Clegane – he was replaced by Ian Whyte – during to a filming clash with The Hobbit. “I would have liked to continue the character,” Stevens has said. “I had already read the entire book series. But as a contractor, we are hired whether the character ends up in the final cut or not, so it would be rather childish to be upset over a clause written into the contract coming about, or not to have another contract offered the next year as was the case here.”

Game Of Thrones: Seasons 1-7 are available now on Blu-ray and DVD with stunning new collectable covers designed by artist, Robert Ball.

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