Neil Fingleton, Game of Thrones’ Mag the Mighty, Has Passed Away

mag the mighty

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.”

Neil FingletonFingleton 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.

40 responses

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    1. Too young… Rest in peace, Neil Fingleton. He only appeared in one episode, but his character Mag the Mighty was such a memorable one for me.

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    2. Such sad news. Same age as me, and I like to still think I’m young. He had a lot of accomplishments. Rest in peace!

      Still can’t believe Bill Paxton either. ?

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    3. I wonder if he had acromegaly. Heart failure is not not uncommon in people with acromegaly, sadly.

      RIP, sweet giant.

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    4. Very brave of him to admit hair loss had affected him.

      Baldness is still very much taboo in our society yet a lot of people suffer severe psychological strain under the disorder. On top of there not really being any safe and effective treatment for it, hair loss sufferers are denied the support and understanding of society.

      It’s only through people speaking up and acknowledging the effects of hair loss that the stigma can ever be dispelled.

      May he rest in peace.

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    5. Very sad. I first came across Neil on a programme about Britain’s Tallest Men, he had just finished with basketball and was hoping to get into acting, but at the time of the show he hadn’t had much luck. I was chuffed to spot in him Thrones and Doctor Who, remembering how much he’d wanted to act. Gone too soon, RIP

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    6. I’ll make sure to toast a proper Northern drink to Mr. Fingleton tonight. As others have said here, it’s sadly not that uncommon for those with acromegaly to die young- as was the case with Andre the Giant, Manute Bol and other abnormally large people in the past. RIP.

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    7. Sad to hear, 36 is quite young

      Just read Bill Paxton died too, so seems to be a thing with actors involved in prominent scenes etc

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    8. He didn’t look as if he had acromegaly, like Andre the Giant did, who was diagnosed with gigantism which led to acromegaly. There are articles online that suggest that very tall people tend to have a shorter life span with greater risk of certain diseases.

      Both the Giants were so powerful. The actors needed to use their bodies so superbly to give those characters humanity and stature.

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    9. I’m sorry Dragon Demands had to be so dismissive. I know this man wasn’t a star of the show but 36 is young to die in modern times – medieval times maybe not so much.

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    10. I am bummed to hear this. Do you think it’s mostly taboo among men? Because I’m in my 40s, and in all my years my extended friends may not have talked about it a lot, but when we did it was open and a non-issue (we’re all women). We know it’s super common and indeed often a sign of good virility.

      The only jokes or discomfort I ever heard was with men who either grew their hair too long (looking massively dorky) or did combovers. But balding men who keep things cut short and clean? You’re all hot. Seriously. Really – it’s not something any but the shallowest among us even think once about. Certainly doesn’t make us think twice.

      Kosten: Very brave of him to admit hair loss had affected him.

      Baldness is still very much taboo in our society yet a lot of people suffer severe psychological strain under the disorder. On top of there not really being any safe and effective treatment for it, hair loss sufferers are denied the support and understanding of society.

      It’s only through people speaking up and acknowledging the effects of hair loss that the stigma can ever be dispelled.

      May he rest in peace.

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    11. This is sad news under any circumstances, and believe me, 36 is young young. RIP Neil.

      Maybe I’m reading something that’s not there in some of the replies, but I think some of you have Mag the Mighty mixed up with Wun Wun. Mag was one of the giants who raided Castle Black back at the end of Season 4 – I think he was the giant that Grenn killed and was killed by. Wun Wun, of course, was the giant who agreed that the wildings should help Jon Snow: “Snow” and ultimately died helping Jon take back Winterfell.

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