This season of HBO’s hit series “Game of Thrones” has been full of shocking deaths, surprise returns and a whole host of curious new characters. Brother Ray (Ian McShane) is the latest to join the cast, appearing in Season 6 and bringing with him the Hound (Rory McCann).
McShane, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, opened up about the introduction of Brother Ray, revealing that his experience was far different than that of other, more permanent stars. Episode 7 marked the first sighting of McShane’s character, who is a reformed warrior. He now spends much of his time traveling from camp to camp, providing motivational speeches to a small group that includes the Hound. While his appearance on “Game of Thrones” was short-lived — ending in his untimely death as well as that of the majority of his followers — the Blackburn, United Kingdom, native has no regrets. In fact, he told EW that short roles involve far less pressure than those with longer arcs. McShane said he made the best of the limited time he had on the “Game of Thrones” set, meeting writers David Benioff and Dan Weiss, and bonding with McCann.
“No pressure! It’s the most popular TV show in the world, isn’t it? I enjoyed meeting [showrunners Benioff and Weiss] — nobody ever expects the kind of reaction that this has gotten. It’s kind of like ‘Deadwood’ when we started off, but they’ve managed to go another three seasons. It’s interesting because you’re a part of the show, but you’re not a part of the show. I only needed Rory [for my scenes], so I didn’t meet anybody else in it.”
As you may have guessed, such roles require a whole new level of secrecy. While Kit Harington and other stars were hounded about the highly anticipated revival of Jon Snow — which took place in Season 6, episode 2 — McShane found it much simpler to avoid questions, even with public knowledge that he would be featured on “Game of Thrones” in some capacity. His secret? Not using social media.
“I don’t do social media. So I’m constantly surprised that when anybody says anything — when a dandelion farts in Belfast things go crazy in the Far East. It’s like the [butterfly effect] multiplied by 20 — little things that have great affect,” he explained. “And you, know it’s all just more publicity, and it just adds to the popularity of the show. People are fascinated by it. Is Jon Snow going to come back? Is it going to be the Hound? [Fans are] involved in the world, and then they work it out, which is great. It’s all about publicity, which is why I’m talking to you, isn’t it?”
Brother Ray is hardly the only major character introduced in Season 6. “Game of Thrones” creators also added a third red woman. The first two were Melisandre (Carice van Houten) and a nameless scarlet sorceress from Season 4. Kinvara, played by Ania Bukstein, first shows her face in Season 6, episode 5. She comes to Meereen, where she encounters Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) and reveals to him her desire to meet with Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). It is unclear at this time how large of a role Kinvara will play in the remaining seasons.
“Game of Thrones” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. EDT on HBO.