Despite atrocities others inflicted upon him and he upon others, Theon Greyjoy made sure he stuck around till the end and earned the redemption he felt he deserved. The actor who played Theon, Alfie Allen talked to The Guardian about his six-pack competition on Game of Thrones and other things in his life.
A total of 10 members from the cast of Game of Thrones were nominated for an Emmy last year, which included Emilia Clarke, Kit Harrington, Peter Dinklage (who won!). So, one can assume that there was some competition on set as well.
“At the beginning, me, Kit Harington (Jon Snow), and Richard Madden (Robb Stark) were definitely in some sort of competition about who could be in the best shape. It’s not like we were comparing but there was definitely a macho vibe going around. But I wouldn’t say there was competition in any sense other than who had the best six-pack. And Kit would always win that,” Alfie explained.
Game of Thrones was a huge show; in terms of scale of production, budget, and the time invested by the cast and crew. The whole process went on for 10 long years. It’s difficult to devote such a large amount of time and be attached to something for this long; so, was there relief or longing at the end?
Alfie Allen said:
“I was excited to move on, without a doubt. I think there was always that fear from when we started: God, you know, this is going to be for quite a while. You don’t want to get sucked into thinking negatively about something that’s essentially a very positive thing, but I would fluctuate. The majority of the time, the feeling for me was: I either give it my all, or I piss and moan about it. Even if you are going to piss and moan about something, you’re going to use that emotion to the betterment of your character, and that’s what I tried to do.”
Theon went through a moving arc along his journey in Game of Thrones. While his fall at the end protecting Bran from the Night King and his army was cheered by all, the end for the show itself came under a lot of criticism.
“People were just massively emotionally invested in it, and that’s testament to how great the show is. Things ended in a similar fashion with Breaking Bad and The Sopranos. There’s never a good ending and I think David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (the showrunners) had a huge amount of pressure on them,” Allen remarked.
Alfie admitted that “it was isolating” to play Theon Greyjoy as “the character was ridiculed at times”. The sheer amount of violence that Theon faced shook almost everyone. The brutal treatment of getting turned into Reek by Ramsay Bolton; the crisis of identity while being raised in Winterfell; it has made Allen think about men’s mental health.
“I think it’s important that we talk about our problems without wearing that as some kind of badge of identity. Look at who is in power (in the USA). A lot of the bad decisions are down to toxic masculinity. If we can eradicate that, it’s going to be totally beneficial for future generations; and for any kind of kid growing up.”
His next film, Jojo Rabbit is a satire set in Nazi Germany, directed by Taika Waititi, who gave Allen a chance to apply comic timing and improvisations on set. He said, “Taika wants things to happen spontaneously.” In Game of Thrones however, the rules were strict.
“Dave and Dan (the showrunners/writers) are very precious about their words, and rightfully so. I think one of the only improvs that was allowed was ‘aye’. Liam Cunningham (Ser Davos) and Kit Harington started saying ‘aye’, so Dave and Dan would allow the odd ‘aye’.”
He also spoke about people’s misconceptions and his ambitions:
“I don’t want to not care what people think, but at the same time I don’t feel I’ve done anything wrong. I don’t see my career as a trajectory because I don’t feel like that’s going to bring me happiness. I think I am ambitious, but I don’t want to lose sight of my own emotional integrity and happiness. You have to be able to preserve that.”
He also hinted at the possibility of a project that’s dark and controversial, yet exciting; but he is still not fully sure about it. It was really pleasant and peaceful to hear Alfie speak about his life. We hope that whatever happens, he is always able to be home! What are your thoughts? Tell us in the comments.