There’s sad news for Game of Thrones fans today: Neil Fingleton, the tallest man in the U.K. who appeared as Mag the Mighty on the show, has passed away at the age of 36.
The 7’8″-tall performer made a big impression in season 4’s “The Watchers on the Wall,” when he faced off against the men of the Night’s Watch at the gate. As Mance Rayder tells Jon Snow, among the giants Mag “was their king. Last of a bloodline that stretches back before the First Men.”
Fingleton hailed from Durham, England. Long before appearing onscreen, he was an athlete, moving to the United States in his high school years to play basketball with Holy Name Central Catholic in Worcester, MA. Afterward, he played college basketball with UNC Chapel Hill and Holy Cross, graduating from the latter in 2004 with a history degree. After retiring from basketball in 2007, he turned his attention to entertainment.
Fingleton’s time on Game of Thrones was brief but notable. The scene with Mag the Mighty attacking the Wall’s gate, with Grenn leading the defense, was a favorite of fans. Among our readers here at Watchers on the Wall, the scene was chosen as one of the Top 5 Dramatic Scenes of season 4 in our annual awards voting. The episode’s segment with Mag the Mighty, another giant and a mammoth attacking the outer door of the Wall was chosen by fans as the Best Visual Effects Scene of season 4. Fingleton’s contribution to Game of Thrones will not be forgotten.
In addition to his GoT role, Fingleton appeared in X-Men: First Class, 47 Ronin, Jupiter Ascending, and Doctor Who, and did motion-capture work for Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Of his eye-catching height, Fingleton once told Guinness World Records, “I have never been self conscious about my height. I am more conscious of going bald so that should tell you. I never let my height play a negative part in my life. I always do what I want, some tall people may be restricted as they are constantly stared at or people ask the same questions over and over. This is the only bad thing about being tall – the stupid remarks and questions. Other than that, being tall is great.”
He was a giant, not a man of the Watch, but I’ll say the words all the same:
And now his watch is ended.