„Is Jon Snow your favourite character in the books?
You know it’s hard to tell isn’t it because once I knew I’d got the part, then I read the books and obviously I was reading the whole book but I was kind of looking forward to the Jon chapters so I’d know what happens to me but I’ll never be able to know whether he would have been my favourite character had I just picked up the books anyway. I do think he’s got a fascinating storyline, the fact he’s up north. We’ve got this element of the White Walkers that he’s going to be dealing with, he’s got the mystery of who his mother is, you know these bits are what make him an interesting storyline but I think Tyrion was also the other one I looked forward to reading. (...)
Considering it has quite a niche market as a fantasy series, can you explain why the show has been so successful?
I think at the moment there’s a big trend in film and TV, because of where we are in the current (economic) climate, of escapism. There are a lot of films coming out at the moment that are transporting audiences away from the gritty reality of life and I think what HBO did was they saw this trend and they saw a good opportunity for a good fantasy. The reason why I think people like this show is that it blends the two, in that; I’ve never seen a fantasy that’s quite as based in reality as this one. There’s no real good or evil, there’s only peoples’ mistakes and peoples’ errors of judgement. It also deals with sex in a very graphic way. It doesn’t hold any bars this show and I think people respect that, they don’t want to be closeted and say, »Oh look this is fantasy, isn’t it fun,« no this is a brutal show, but it’s also escapism at the same time. I think people like it because it’s complicated; it takes a lot of brain work to get into and people want to be tested in that way. How many stories can they remember? What links in here? How much intrigue is there? I think these are all elements of why it’s a success.
Do you see any connection to some of the great fantasy works such as Lord of the Rings?
I think it’s very different to Lord of the Rings; it’s very similar in that this is a world completely made up, but what’s different is that there’s no dark, evil power and there’s no good. That’s one way of doing it. There’s more blurred lines that way, you don’t know who’s good or who’s bad, it’s all about real human behaviour. I think if we’re lucky enough to carry on and it goes the full way and people are still intrigued by it, it could go down as an iconic series but it’s way too early to tell for that yet.”