Note: This story discusses plot points in Game of Thrones season 7, episode 6, “Beyond the Wall”…
You just knew all of our Game of Thrones heroes wouldn’t survive that perilous trek “Beyond the Wall.” And when the White Walkers and wights (and zombie polar bear!) closed in, it was knot-topped red priest Thoros of Myr (played by English comedian and actor Paul Kaye) who paid the ultimate price.
“I got the news last summer sometime, I missed a couple calls from [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss], and that’s the kiss of death,” Kaye tells EW.
Was he disappointed that Thoros wouldn’t make it to the final season? “Obviously,” he says, but the actor was far more relieved that his character came back into the show last season and for season 7 in the first place. In George R.R. Martin’s novels upon which GoT is based, the journey of Thoros becomes intertwined with that of another character, Lady Stoneheart, who’s not in HBO’s version.
“It looked like they weren’t following Lady Stoneheart’s storyline in the show, so I prepared myself not to re-emerge,” he says. “So it was great to get back and have this adventure. Just staying alive for six seasons is an achievement in itself on this show.”
Thoros was mauled by an undead bear after heroically saving The Hound, then perished amid the freezing cold on a rock island surrounded by his companions. “It’s glorious, really,” Kaye says. “And I like the fact I get [cremated] with my own booze as well —there’s a message there somewhere.”
Looking back at his time on the show, Kaye (whose upcoming credits include the 2017 zombie film Anna and the Apocalypse and the 2018 film Tomorrow) says he has particularly fond memories of filming his scenes in season 3 in the Brotherhood Without Banners cave hideout. “It was a special time,” he says. “My cast number was 47 and I was 47. It was just beyond my wildest dreams.”
There’s just one thing about his storyline that bugs him. “I used to like polar bears,” he says, “but not anymore!”
RELATED: Hear the latest from EW’s Game of Thrones Weekly podcast
More Beyond the Wall coverage:
— Emilia Clarke on Dany’s ‘heartbreaking’ loss
— Our deep-dive recap
— Our podcast (new episode Monday) where we’ll talk about what it was like on set for that polar bear fight
— GoT stars explain that deadly Sansa vs. Arya tension
— Monday: Director Alan Taylor, Sophie Turner on that Arya tension, and more!
Game of Thrones airs Sundays on HBO.