There is only one true Masters of Whisperers. For seven years now, Varys has been beautifully played by Conleth Hill, who spends the off-season occupied with other projects. This year was no exception: between the filming of the seventh season and the eighth and final one, Hill has been busy in London’s West End —UK’s Broadway—, starring in a stage production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, alongside British acting legend Imelda Staunton. In a new interview, the actor has not only opened up about this new role of his but about filming the last seasons of Game of Thrones… as well as the ability to pass by unnoticed by fans due to his luscious head of hair.
Newsweek asked about the upcoming seventh season, which is shorter than previous seasons by three whole episodes, though Hill did find issue with that interpretation:
“It was going to be seven seasons, full stop”, the actor clarified, referring to the original plan of a traditional seventh season as the show’s last, before the producers went for two shorter seventh and eighth seasons, of seven and six episodes respectively. “So, if you look at it, you’re getting three more episodes than what it was going to be.”
So, in the end, the seventh season they just filmed turned out to not the last we’ll see of these characters, but that doesn’t mean the conclusion isn’t approaching fast. Has Hill been overcome by this (as Newsweek put it) “feeling of denouement”?
“No, not yet. I’ve always been aware from day one how lucky I was, how special it was. I’m also really proud that it’s made [in Northern Ireland] and shows off the beauty of where I come from. Our tourism has gone up because of it. It will be a big loss when it goes, for lots of different reasons—and not just as selfish as my own. I haven’t contemplated it yet. We’ve got another season to go.”
Another season to go for them… and two for us. In little more than two months, we’ll get to see how the conflicts brewing in the last few seasons boil over into all-out wars. The White Walkers approach from the North, and Daenerys Targaryen from the Narrow Sea. Varys may be firmly with the Dragon Queen, but the actor has a more nuanced view:
“I think Cersei’s a bad article sometimes. But what’s brilliant about it is that they’re all human. You could argue Cersei did what she did and blew up the Great Sept because she was being abused by the High Sparrow and his people. It’s not as easy to be black-and-white about it. Look at how people thought about Jaime at the beginning versus now. It’s always changing—that’s what is so brilliant about the books and the series.”
As Conleth Hill himself tells it, he’s quite thankful for the experiences and opportunities Game of Thrones has brought him — but he is no Kit Harington in terms of fan recognition, even though Hill’s impressive locks may compare with those of Jon Snow. And, funnily enough, that is precisely why he can go by largely unnoticed:
“I don’t really get recognized that much. I don’t look like Varys, really—I’ve got hair.” He does, indeed. Just take a look! Varys must be jealous. “I generally get left alone, really. But any fans that do approach are usually well-mannered and kind.”
Oh, my, Conleth, we’ll blush. I’m sure I can speak for everyone and wish Hill great success in all his future endeavors, during and after Game of Thrones.