Ian McShane to Game of Thrones fans : “Maybe you should get out a little more”

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Ian McShane caused quite a stir last year among Game of Thrones fans, and not just with his performance as Brother Ray in season six of the show. In advance of his episode, he freely dropped spoilers about his appearance being tied to a “much-loved character who everybody thinks is dead.” It was commonly believed by avid fans of the show, long before “The Broken Man” aired, that this indicated we’d be seeing McShane with the Hound. When some were irritated with the potential spoilers, the actor dismissed the concerns, saying, “I was accused of giving the plot away, but I just think get a f***ing life. It’s only tits and dragons.”

McShane still has a lot of opinions about his time on Game of Thrones and the fandom, these days. The actor has an interview in the new April issue of Empire magazine, quoted online by the Belfast Telegraph, where he discusses his frustration.

“The show is huge but some fans seem to identify with it (too closely),” McShane says. “You want to say, ‘Have you thought about your lifestyle? Maybe you should get out a little more.'”

As for him possibly sharing spoilers, he’s unfazed as usual.

“Firstly, you love it,” he says to Empire, “secondly, you’ll have forgotten by the time it comes out. And what am I giving away? A character beloved by everybody returns. Get a f****** life.”

We have a life, Ian! It’s just very, very nerdy. That said, I’m not particularly bothered by his comments, because I find McShane hilarious and I’m really looking forward to seeing him in American Gods.

80 responses

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    1. I’m very proud to live in my own little fantasy world! I’m sure to non-nerds / non-GoT fanatics, it does seem a little bonkers to be as obsessed as some of us are…but to each his own, and it doesn’t hurt anyone. I love our little GoT fandom and everyone in it!

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    2. Spoilers are “a disease. You don’t cure it by spreading it.”

      And Ian: You brought back The Hound. God bless you for that. Now go away.

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    3. Still having a bit of a problem with actors saying such things as “get a life” to fans because:
      1) it tends to spread in society the idea that fans don’t have a life, repeating cliches that fans and fan studies academics (like myself) actually tend to tear apart.
      2) it shows a lack of knowledge of fans’ lives.
      3) it proves a clear lack of respect toward fans, which are the reason for success of shows and actors, hence, not the people to disrespect.

      This is not good PR management…

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    4. It probably is strange for someone to be dropped into the show for a role such as his while apparently not being aware of the type of fandom it has. The mains have had years to get used to it, grow with it.

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    5. I can’t stand people who are overly precious about spoilers. I don’t go around spoiling things for people, but if you don’t want to know don’t read about them. Also, if you are that hardcore about the books and show there is a good chance you could have guessed what was coming just from reading the episode title. I hate the outrage culture in fandom, everything is an outrage.

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    6. Clob: a role such as his

      I didn’t have a problem with the things he said then about what his role was. He didn’t say exactly what it was but it was easy for people like us to figure it out. Book readers had been waiting for and expecting Meribald and/or Elder Brother to show up at some point since it was commonly believed the gravedigger was Sandor.

      I still watch his scenes and think they feel out of place on the show. It’s not that I don’t like them, they just have a different feel. Ian himself, the music, the people hanging out on a grassy hillside building a little sept.

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    7. Alex,

      Ummm… You DO know I was just playing around with his “Violence is a disease” speech, right?

      This isn’t about “outrage culture in fandom.” It’s about not realizing that having hobbies, participating in cultural activities and discussions, and studying the arts, etc. are all a part of HAVING a healthy, well-rounded life — not a sign that one should “get a life.”

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    8. Ugh… his statement about “tits and dragons” may have seemed funny but this is now pretty insulting, both to fans and those, who make TV series.

      Even though I’m a bit absent this year ( due to avoiding spoilers), this site keeps my hype up and the experience seems even more special. And I’m part of the admin team that runs a LOST – themed FB group, now counting over 5500 members. I have no shame of regulary checking these sites as I watch TV series for enjoyment and like I said, fansites make the journey even more special.

      And apart from that, I do have a real life. I’m sure we all have it.

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    9. You might not like what he has to say, but he is right in a way. I think we all know people in this fandom (and other fandoms too) who take things far, far, far too seriously. He got some flak from obsessives over going the spoiler away last year, and probably some of them went overboard with their reaction. In the grand scheme of things, spoilers don’t matter at all. Yes, they’re annoying if you want to avoid them, but they’re not the end of the world some people like to think.

      There is a difference between discussing a show on a site like this, and going crazily overboard with analysis, (basically) stalking actors/writers social media accounts, and trying to spin writers statements to suit your own point-of-view. These people do need to get a life. That said, I do agree that these statements will only reinforce some people’s negative opinion of fans and fan culture.

      One thing is for sure; if American Gods is even as half as popular as GoT he is going to have to be a lot more careful with what he says.

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    10. Knight of the Walkers: if American Gods is even as half as popular as GoT

      Gaiman is one of my top five authors and American Gods is a favorite so I hope the show is really good. It’s difficult to predict if something will be a big hit, but it sort of feels like AG could have an even narrower niche crowd. That’s just a feeling though with nothing to support it. People surprise me sometimes. I’m also still a bit hesitant with Starz. They’ve put out a couple good dramas but they still haven’t really gotten one to be a long term, widespread hit, big award winning program.

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    11. Hes an actor. His world doesnt revolve around GOT. And hes not as invested as the other actors. Doesn’t bother me. It IS tits and dragons, and that’s fine with me. 🙂

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    12. The Fanacademic,

      I’d like to hear more about the academic studies. (Seriously.)*

      I’m reminded of two quotes of Robert Duvall: about acting, and about “having a life.”

      Paraphrasing, Robert Duvall said:

      • The essence of acting is playing pretend – a child’s game.

      •. His advice to other actors to avoid drugs and alcohol: take up hobbies.

      My takeaway is that analyzing and dissecting a novel, TV series, or movie is a healthy intellectual exercise. Conversely, when someone you know starts losing interest in those kinds of exercises or starts spending all of his or her time on work, that’s when you should start worrying: it’s one of the red flags for depression.
      I’d much rather someone show excessive exuberance and enthusiasm about something outside of work, rather than a dismissive disinterest about everything but work. (In my family, we have a name for someone who’s always bitching and moaning, and dumping on what other people like: “Mr. Bummer.”)

      * Fanacademic: I wonder where those cliches come from?

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    13. I think he acts like a jerk and I don’t he is funny at all.

      Game of Thrones is a lot more than “Tits and Dragons” for one thing. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of the great battle scenes (or tits and dragons.) For me, it’s about characters, awesome story lines, and great acting. I’m a married woman in my late 40s, a mother of two kids, self-employed, etc.

      Know what you’re working with and for and get a f***ing life yourself, Ian. Or just show a little bit of respect.

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    14. Clob: I’m also still a bit hesitant with Starz. They’ve put out a couple good dramas but they still haven’t really gotten one to be a long term, widespread hit, big award winning program.

      Outlander? I thought it was pretty widespread – although it’s only been for two seasons, I for one, am breathlessly awaiting its return third season, which I read was set for September.

      I was a late-comer to Outlander, both the books and the show. But I was searching for something to get me through the GoT off-season, and begrudgingly thought to watch “an episode.” Needless to say to other Outlander fans, it became my next great binge watch. I didn’t know Ian was in another series until I just read the info here, so I will give that a look.

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    15. Thronetender,
      Yeah, Outlander was one of the few I thought of that’s been pretty good. Coming from someone that wasn’t a massive fan of Spartacus and has to force himself to watch Black Sails, I personally think Outlander may be their best drama so far. I was really into it during the first (split) season but have fallen behind a bit admittedly. I did personally think of it as a good offseason fill-in for GoT.

      Still, while it has a decent following it hasn’t drawn the same level of hype as GoT, nor has it garnered the same number of MAJOR awards. The biggest problem… the first run ratings are averaging the wrong direction and nowhere near GoT. The series high was the season 2 premiere at just 1.46 million. It then fell every week until the last three episodes when it rose slightly to the finale at 1.15 (1.09 avg for the season). That average is less than half of GoT’s lowest (first) season and it has the opposite trend that GoT has shown in increasing ratings nearly weekly over the entire series run.

      I’m not attempting to rip Outlander here or say that viewership numbers are an indication of how good it is. I’m just trying to point out that Starz programs haven’t shown to really hit the ‘big time’ historically so that’s a reason why them having American Gods may hold it back…

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    16. Honestly, I wonder what sort of hardships he had to endure from the GoT fandom. Maybe while we all get a life he can buck up a little 🙂

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    17. <
      Clob: I still watch his scenes and think they feel out of place on the show. It’s not that I don’t like them, they just have a different feel. Ian himself, the music, the people hanging out on a grassy hillside building a little sept.

      Yeah – they were “out of place” but they were meant to be, I think. Remember that episode opened right into the story – I forget the term for the type of opening it was, but it came before the credits, so its difference from the rest of show was marked right there. You mention the music, that’s the first thing I noticed when the scene started, it was lovely, peaceful, hopeful, pastoral. Here was this bunch of gentle people trying to make a good life and build a little sept, in the name of denying violence, in one of the most violent places and times there could be.

      And of all people, there was Sandor, trying to be different, enjoying a true friendship for the first time in his life. We had to know from the beginning none of that would survive, yet the difference is that it worked to send Sandor in a completely different direction from his Hound days. Oh, he’s still violent, but his cause and purpose are totally different. To me, the scene wasn’t out of place, it was perfect for what it conveyed.

      Lord Parramandas: Ugh… his statement about “tits and dragons” may have seemed funny but this is now pretty insulting, both to fans and those, who make TV series.

      I love Ian, and loved the part he played in his brief stint on Got. Yet his remarks about the show being “tits and dragons” are somewhat odd, considering some other productions he’s been in. I was clicking my way through the TV channels the other night and came across the 2013 film, Jack the Giant Slayer, in which he played the King. A larger role than Brother Ray, but still fantasy. No tits, just Giants and a few ginormous bean stalks and some cool effects. I wonder what the producers, director and writers would have said had he dismissed that fantasy as “just Giants.” Not that I want anyone to be angry at him – I would have been delighted if his time on the show was longer, but was a bit ruffled at his dismissal of GoT as something less than the phenom it is.

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    18. Clob,

      Don’t let tv ratings dictate what shows you watch. The higher rated shows are often the crappiest.

      Not to turn this into an article about Outlander, but as an example, that show is actually pretty damn good. I had no interest in it at first, but I watched an episode with my wife who loves the show and I quickly became a fan. Besides, it’s got Edmure Tully in it!

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    19. Get a real job.

      Okay, I don’t actually care about either his “get a life” or the spoilers. BUT, seems to be that someone who’s made a very good living out pretending to be other people should probably be grateful that people get invested enough in their imaginations to buy what he’s selling.

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    20. Mr Derp,

      Oh I don’t! Seriously, some of my favorite shows in the past have been canned because of ratings. As I wrote, I wasn’t implying that numbers were an indication of the quality. It was more of shot at Starz programming not hitting it in ratings and also how quick they’ve been at cutting programs. Just take a look at their drama series history and how their longest run are just 3-4 seasons. Their only current dramas anyone ever mentions are Black Sails and Outlander. Black Sails is done after its next (4th) season. Outlander has a third season coming but how long will it last with low and declining numbers on a premium cable network that has a history of quick cuts?

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    21. “Now here’s my counter offer to your counter offer…go fuck yourself”

      Love Ian. Love that he doesn’t give a fuck. Those that are offended by his “get a life comment” are probably the same people who want a participation trophy when they lose. Sticks and stones…blah blah blah. QTIP that shit. Quit Taking It Personal.

      Always felt his character sucked on GoT, however this was mainly due to the script. He did ok with the pile of shit he had to work with. Masterful actor. Doucebag? Sure. So what?

      Ian, give me S4 or the long discussed 2 hour movie of Deadwood, and I wouldn’t care if you pissed on the ugly Dark Horse statue of Stannis that was just released.

      Be true to yourself. Don’t let the bastards get you down.

      I am fucking hammered.

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    22. Clob,

      I feel like HBO is the only premium channel that has impressive ratings somewhat consistently. I can’t recall a lot of shows on Cinemax, Showtime, or any other network that have had any ratings giants compared to GoT, Sopranos, etc.

      I was sad to see Penny Dreadful get cancelled on Showtime. I didn’t think it was the greatest show and sometimes it was a bit silly, but it was interesting and pretty different from a lot of the mainstream plots that are out there on other shows. Besides, Eva Green just commands the screen anytime she’s on it. She’s amazing!

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    23. Clob,

      So, I can see what you mean. Getting invested in a show that doesn’t have good ratings can be tricky because it might abruptly end and never come back, with unresolved plotlines everywhere.

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    24. Mr Derp,

      In my typical long-winded fashion that’s pretty much what I was getting at when stating some concern about American Gods coming out on Starz rather than HBO, as was the initial plan. If not on HBO I want to say Showtime might have been the next ‘safist’ premium. They have a bit longer and solid history with drama series, as well as the important thing, several long(er) runs series. Shameless is going on season 8, Homeland is greenlit for 7 & 8, Dexter, Weeds, Californication… Still though, outside of Homeland hitting big hype but pretty much peaking in season 1 their stuff has been sub-2 million in viewers as well. I guess I’d just be more comfortable anyway since I don’t have much faith in Starz.

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    25. Mr Derp:
      Clob,

      So, I can see what you mean.Getting invested in a show that doesn’t have good ratings can be tricky because it might abruptly end and never come back, with unresolved plotlines everywhere.

      Exactly! I HATE THAT!

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    26. Mr Derp: Getting invested in a show that doesn’t have good ratings can be tricky because it might abruptly end and never come back, with unresolved plotlines everywhere.

      kind of like Carnivale and Deadwood?

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    27. Salty Dornishman: Oh man, please do not rip the scab off my Carnivale wound. That one still hurts

      Me too, lol. I didn’t know if anyone here would even remember Carnivale! I couldn’t believe they cancelled that. It was my first foray into real fandom, I was one of those that sent letters and pleading emails to HBO to get them to reconsider. Oh well. At least they’re going to see this one ALL the way through.

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    28. I have a fucking life
      And will now make fucking sure I never watch that arse in anything but GOT again. That is ONLY because I will not deny myself GOT for ANY FUCKER!

      Not everyone loves spoilers, so fuck off to him!

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    29. Clob,

      Black Sails is beast though, it’s had some really awesome moments throughout the series that I think are on par with anything on TV.

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    30. All this talk of cancelled shows, could you imagine if for some reason HBO cancelled Game of Thrones after season 7, especially as it’s very unlikely we will ever see the final book?

      After investing so much into this series (Books and show) it would drive me crazy to end it just before the story concludes.

      Ps. I know it won’t happen so hypothetical question:)

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    31. Jon Snowed,

      What people aren’t talking about here that could cancel season 8 (at least temporarily) is the writer’s strike which might happen at a time before D & D are able to finish the scripts for S8.

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    32. I wasn’t even aware of that Latrine, I would imagine they will begin the writing process now so let’s hope this doesn’t impact Season 8.

      I also hope GRRM can be involved in writing for the final episode but given that he hasn’t even finished Winds yet I am not very optimistic.

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    33. Lord Parramandas: Ugh… his statement about “tits and dragons” may have seemed funny but this is now pretty insulting, both to fans and those, who make TV series.

      I have to agree. Am I personally insulted by his comments? Not really, but I don’t think they’re funny. Telling someone who loves something you worked on to “Get a f****** life.” is just mean, plane and simple and it does show a certain disrespect for the core fanbase, which is unprofessional if not anything else. If he feels that way fine, but there is no need to speak out in poblic about it.

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    34. Dee Stark,

      The bargaining agreement is set to expire in May and from what I’m reading, there is a good chance there will be a strike. I don’t think they’d be done with the scripts in May, even in a shortened season, especially with things being shifted 2 months back because of the late start. The past two writer’s strikes lasted about 100 and 150 days, so this could push back S8 many months.

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    35. Clob: Oh I don’t! Seriously, some of my favorite shows in the past have been canned because of ratings.

      With the mention of a writers strike I have to quote myself from earlier in the thread. Pushing Daisies, one of my favorite shows of all time was canned in large part due to ratings. However, people said that the primary reason for the ratings drop was because of the Writers Guild strike in ’07-’08, and I agree with that. The show was immediately praised critically, was nominated and won several awards (12 Emmy noms) and had an average of ~10 million viewers. The strike shortened season 1 and forced a break of nearly a year. They lost almost a third of their viewership on return and the show was dropped. Interesting tie-in with this thread… the creator was Bryan Fuller who is now a writer and producer for American Gods.

      Speaking specifically about GoT and how a writers strike would effect it, on the surface it would seem like it might not be as bad. I say that only because the primary writers are the creators, D&D. This is their baby and I assume they’d do whatever they can to keep it on track for the finish. While they may not be able to use other writers during a strike I would think they’d be able to complete most of it just working in their own living rooms. They don’t need a room of writers like a sitcom or nightly variety program. Besides, they’ve probably done quite a bit of outlining for season 8 already. They know the story they’re going to tell, enough so that they’ve been able to narrow it down to the number of hours left.

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    36. Gayle,

      Exactly this. I wasn’t a fan of his “tits and dragons”comments. They served no purpose but to alienate the fan base from his character. These latest comments show that he has no clue how to interact with fans. Maybe he should reflect on what having “a life” actually means, and think about if that includes insulting millions of people. I may not go to fancy Hollywood parties, or elegant dinner parties, but I do have great friends, a nice home, happy dogs, and time to enjoy fictional shows (and all that goes along with it).

      My life doesn’t include insulting millions of people. So one of us is clearly missing something – and it’s not me. Maybe someday he will realize different people have different interests, and just because and interest differs from his own doesn’t mean they are lacking “a life”. Until then he is a sad man.

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    37. Well, he can f*ck off imo, didn’t care for his character n’or his acting anyway, glad he’s dead, waste of screen time if you ask me.
      I would’ve been happier with Rory chopping people up with his axe the entire episode.

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    38. ‘Tits and dragons’ was kind of amusing but also showed a lack of understanding/respect for the depth of GoT. I know for many actors, it is just a job but I don’t know, don’t bite the hands of the fans who feed you? It was obviously a job for Stephen Dillane but he was never rude to fans in interviews and has kind of just said he didn’t understand what he was part of and left it at that.

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    39. Clob,

      > Clob
      TESTING

      I’ve tried 3 times to reply to your 2-23-17, 10:40 am comment. Each time when I pressed “Post Comment” my reply went straight to Alphabet Heaven.

      Let me see if this Test goes through….

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    40. Gayle,

      Everyone needs escapism in some from or another. is necessary for a healthy mind and if Ian is judging those who find theirs through certain art such as the old stand-by of story telling as wanting, it makes me wonder what he believes he is accomplishing through his acting. That said, I know there are some who do go overboard and get too fanatical and those are probably the ones he’s referring to. Either way, I have enough of a life to not let the man’s opinion bother me in any way lol.

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    41. Ten Bears:
      The Fanacademic,

      I’d like to hear more about the academic studies. (Seriously.)*

      I’m reminded of two quotes of Robert Duvall: about acting, and about “having a life.”

      Paraphrasing, Robert Duvall said:

      •The essence of acting is playing pretend – a child’s game.

      •. His advice to other actors to avoid drugs and alcohol: take up hobbies.

      My takeaway is that analyzing and dissecting a novel, TV series, or movie is a healthy intellectual exercise. Conversely, when someone you know starts losing interest in those kinds of exercises or starts spending all of his or her time on work, that’s when you should start worrying: it’s one of the red flags for depression.I’d much rather someone show excessive exuberance and enthusiasm about something outside of work, rather than a dismissive disinterest about everything but work. (In my family, we have a name for someone who’s always bitching and moaning, and dumping on what other people like: “Mr. Bummer.”)

      * Fanacademic: I wonder where those cliches come from?

      Ten Bears: * Fanacademic: I wonder where those cliches come from?

      Hard to say where the cliches originate. A lot come from how trekkers were stereotypically portrayed in the 60s and 70s. Some of these cliches could also come from the idea of the nerd and geek as solitary people. Fans being often seen as nerds and geeks, these cliches are applied to them. Whatever their origin anyway, they keep circulating today because of a lack of knowledge on fans and fandom from the society at large (although many things are being done, fan studies are taught in college, producers, actors, creative industries executives and even politicians make efforts to communicate with fans).

      Fan Studies is an academic field that aims at studying fans and fandom. It is an interdisciplinary field made of very diverse areas, ranging from sports fandom to star/celebrity fandom as well as book, music, film, series’ fandoms, online/offline fandoms, fanart, fanfic, fanworks, fandom and economy, fandom and politics, LGBTQ issues and fandom, fandom and identity…you name it! The whole goal is to try to understand better fans, their work and their impact on society.

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    42. Rygar:
      “Now here’s my counter offer to your counter offer…go fuck yourself”

      Love Ian.Love that he doesn’t give a fuck. Those that are offended by his “get a life comment” are probably the same people who want a participation trophy when they lose.Sticks and stones…blah blah blah.QTIP that shit. Quit Taking It Personal.

      Always felt his character sucked on GoT, however this was mainly due to the script.He did ok with the pile of shit he had to work with.Masterful actor.Doucebag?Sure.So what?

      Ian, give me S4 or the long discussed 2 hour movie of Deadwood, and I wouldn’t care if you pissed on the ugly Dark Horse statue of Stannis that was just released.

      Be true to yourself.Don’t let the bastards get you down.

      I am fucking hammered.

      Changing my username to Hammered.

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    43. Abyss: I have to agree. Am I personally insulted by his comments? Not really, but I don’t think they’re funny. Telling someone who loves something you worked on to “Get a f****** life.” is just mean, plane and simple and it does show a certain disrespect for the core fanbase, which is unprofessional if not anything else. If he feels that way fine, but there is no need to speak out in poblic about it.

      This. I’m not personally insulted, but I was side-eying him for this latest comment because it’s disrespectful and I feel like this is going to continue with American Gods, which I loved and which I plan to watch. People contribute to your making a living so how about the concern trolling about how they live their life stop and how about you not spread retrograde stereotypes about fans?

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    44. ygritte,
      And that is, I believe, the healthiest and simplest way to look at it 🙂

      I, for one, have to confess I do like it when Ian McShane goes full Shatner on us…

      Ultimately, does it truly matter whether McShane likes us or not ? Respects us or not ? Likes / respects the show we are fans of or not ? We, as the HBO-subscribing, DVD-purchasing audience, (indirectly) pay the actors for their performance, their acting abilities. That’s about it. The only thing we can legitimately expect from them is good acting. To demand that they like, respect and / or validate us may be a tad too tall an order and to be disappointed or angry when they don’t might be ill-advised…

      Ian McShane did his job on the show and he did it very well, in my opinion. Brother Ray’s storyline was both beautiful and important and McShane gave him all the elements to stand out : humour, roughness, serenity, introspection, warmth, conviction, wisdom and, ultimately, tragedy. Job well done, check cashed in, congrats 🙂

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    45. Ten Bears:
      Alex,

      Ummm… You DO know I was just playing around with his “Violence is a disease” speech, right?

      This isn’t about “outrage culture in fandom.” It’s about not realizing that having hobbies, participating in cultural activities and discussions, and studying the arts, etc. are all a part of HAVING a healthy, well-rounded life — not a sign that one should “get a life.”

      He didn’t say otherwise.

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