We chat with the young British actor about getting into acting, his favourite Singaporean dish, and who he's secretly rooting for in Game of Thrones
The countdown begins to the return of the greatest TV show of all time. Come 25 April, season six of Game of Thrones (GOT) is set to hit screens to huge anticipation. Now that the show’s finally caught up with the books (and after last season’s leaked script info), HBO’s tightened the reins on the upcoming plot and casting. Little wonder then, that we’re hungry for spoilers (for the nth time, are you dead or alive Jon Snow?!).
To help ease the painful wait, we sat down for a chat with Isaac Hempstead-Wright – AKA Bran Stark – who recently swung by Singapore for the unveiling of World of Westeros. In this interview, the young star teases new plot deets, the extent of his game-changing magical abilities, his top picks for the throne, and even his favourite Singaporean dish! And btw, in case you haven’t watched GOT yet (catch up already!), spoiler alert!
Hey Isaac! Welcome back to Game of Thrones. What was it like returning to the series after a whole season away?
Honestly, I was disoriented since I hadn’t been on a film set in a year. The show seems to get bigger with every season and I was afraid that everything had changed. Thankfully, everyone was so friendly and helped put me at ease, so I got into the swing of things in no time.
Let’s go straight to the juicy details. It’s obvious that Bran is set to be a major player in season six. Could you give us a few hints of what we can expect from him?
When Bran was away in season five, he was learning how to use his powers. What the three-eyed raven is trying to bestow upon him is a sense of responsibility and an understanding of the gravity of his powers – they can have a fairly huge effect on the entire Westeros political climate! While I can’t say exactly what Bran is going to do with them, they will be crucial in a world of warring humans and White Walkers.
What do you think has been Bran’s greatest moment so far?
Bran isn’t a glam, save-the-day type – he can’t walk, and he had to be dragged around everywhere by a bunch of misfits! I think it’s not about his triumphs, but his overall journey on what he’s had to survive to pursue his calling. There were plenty of points when he could’ve called it a day; he could’ve reunited with his brother (when he saw Jon Snow at Craster’s Keep and a tower south of the Wall) and returned to Winterfell. But he stayed focused no matter what – something I certainly wouldn’t be able to do as well as him.
How much of Bran’s future do you know?
For now, I only know as far as this season. But it’s different for the character, since he can see into the future. I’m sure he knows almost everything, including the ultimate fate of Westeros.
If you weren’t playing a Stark, which house would your allegiance lie?
That’s a good one! The Tullys I think. They seem like a nice enough bunch with the same honourable traits as the Starks. Definitely not the Lannisters though. I want to stay as far away as I can from those evil people as possible.
Do you have a fave GOT character?
I love Tyrion for his wit and cynicism, which is rare in war-like Westeros. I saw this interesting thing the other day where Mathematicians mapped out GOT’s hero based on character interactions and it came down to Tyrion and Daenarys. If I had to pick, it’d be team Tyrion for sure.
Who would you like to see rule Westeros?
I think Sansa should rule after all she’s been through. She’s experienced first-hand the political scheming of Westeros and suffered a lot. But she’s since developed a thick skin and a compelling mind, a queen’s title would suit her well.
What about Bran?
I don’t think Bran is a ruler but he could be a good enabler to get someone to the throne.
Given a chance, who would Bran kill off first?
I don’t know if Bran’s a particularly vengeful character; he’s more of the all-seeing and all-knowing magical character who maintains the balance of the world. That being said, I’m sure it wouldn’t be beyond him to make some people pay, especially the ones who’ve put his family through hell. The obvious choice would be Jamie Lannister, though that character’s changed after going through so much, to the point where I think anyone would sympathise with him. That’s GOT’s clever writing for you.
On the flipside, who would he resurrect if he could?
Well, Jon Snow obviously… or Rob Stark… or Ned Stark. It’ll be nice to have one of the Starks. Any of the dead Starks. Please?
You were only 10 years old when you started acting in GOT. What was it like being so young and in a show with violent, racy scenes?
It was a very different way to be introduced to the world of sex and violence. Seeing all the dead bodies and blood on set (plus the processes behind them) debunked all the gore I see in movies and made horror films less scary. As for sex, the show unfortunately opened up a horribly embarrassing discussion with my Mum.
Which members of the cast are you closest to?
Dean-Charles Chapman, who plays Tommen Baratheon. We met last year and became best mates. Of course, there’s also Kristian Nairn (Hodor) – all that carrying me around means he’s forced to like me *laughs*. I’m also close to Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) and Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark). The three of us started out together as new actors.
How do you find Singapore so far?
It’s such a nice city! One of the best things here is all that lush greenery around the expressways, unlike the UK where everything’s so concrete and industrial. And don’t get started on the food. I love the hawker centres; it’s a great place to eat out and everything is soooo cheap.
What local dish do you reckon could be a hit in Westeros?
I love Laksa best, and I think it’d be great up North (where the Starks live) ’cause it’s hearty, soupy and spicy.
Season six of Game of Thrones premieres on April 25th exclusively on HBO (StarHub TV Ch 601) this April 25 at 9am, with a same day primetime encore at 9pm.