Peter Vaughan, Known to Many as Game of Thrones’ Maester Aemon, Has Passed Away

Peter Vaughan as Maester Aemon in Game of Thrones

The cast of Game of Thrones has lost one of their own today.

The BBC reports that 93-year-old actor Peter Vaughan, best known to us as Maester Aemon of the Citadel and the Wall, passed away this morning. His death was confirmed by his agent Sally Long-Innes who said: “This is to confirm that very sadly Peter Vaughan passed away at approximately 10:30 this morning. He died peacefully with his family around him.”

Long before his Thrones work, Vaughan had a long and storied career, with sixty years of experience onscreen in a huge number of roles. Highlights included his turn as Grouty in Porridge, and his supporting work in the sitcom Citizen Smith. He appeared in a variety of films including The Remains of the Day, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Time Bandits, Brazil, The Village of the Damned,  Les Miserables (1998 version), and The Razor’s Edge. The list of film and television work goes on and on- Vaughan was tireless, it seems, always creating new characters.

Maester Aemon was the last of his screen roles. In 2015, in the season five episode “The Gift,” Aemon died, one of the precious few Game of Thrones characters to receive a natural and graceful passing. Back then, Axechucker memorialized his performance on the series, and particularly recalled the love and respect his costar John Bradley had for him when they spoke in a previous interview. Of his co-star, Bradley said then:

He’s stunning. In the 70’s and 80’s, he was where people went for certain kinds of characters. He was in a sitcom called Porridge, set in a prison… one of the best beloved sitcoms in British history. And he was incredible in it. And he played a kind-of gangster who, unofficially, took charge of the whole prison. It was kind of a sinister part for a comedy. His character had this extremely sharp wit… really, he was someone I’ve been dying to work with. He was in a scene with me where he spoke to me but I couldn’t speak back. I was dying to speak back. It was amazing, one of those pinch yourself moments.

Peter Vaughan was a remarkable performer, and we’re forever grateful for his contributions to the world of Game of Thrones.

And now his watch is ended.

89 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. Oh no, RIP Peter Vaughan :'(

      Just like with Maester Aemon, I find solace in knowing that he passed away peacefully surrounded by his loved ones. His role in GoT was arguably the crown on an astonishingly long and rich acting career. We, the Watchers, will remember.

        Quote  Reply

    2. We are thankful for the wonderful performance he supplied Game of Thrones, and the many more besides.

      ~M.

        Quote  Reply

    3. Such sad news. Rest in peace, Mr. Vaughn. I, too, am glad to hear his passing was a peaceful one, and that he was with his family. His portrayal of Maester Aemon was wonderful to see.

      And now his watch has ended.

        Quote  Reply

    4. Rest in Peace. Peter Vaughan was not just a great actor in Game of Thrones; he was a great actor full stop. The sheer range of his performances, and the depth that he brought to them will be remembered for a very long time.

      Game of Thrones was so lucky to have him in what was a small, but notable role. The presence of esteemed actors like James Cosmo and Owen Teale certainly helped yo elevate scenes at the wall, but it was Peter’s scenes that I enjoyed the most, because he just had that bit of extra sparkle. Moreover, he helped to bring out the best in his co-actors, with Kit Harington, John Bradley, and Hannah Murray all playing off him nicely.

      Although this is very sad news, Peter did seem to lead a fascinating life, and he worked up until the last couple of years. His performances will live on, and I’m sure many, many more people will enjoy them in years to come.

        Quote  Reply

    5. RIP Mr Vaughan! Maester Aemon will live as long as we live to remember his great performance. We were truly lucky to see him playing a character which suites him perfectly. He was admired and loved.

        Quote  Reply

    6. What an amazing life and career.

      And what a final gift he gave us as Aemon. The “Love is the death of duty” speech and revealing himself as a Targaryen to Jon Snow in S1 is one of my all-time favorite scenes from the show.

        Quote  Reply

    7. Peter Vaughn was absolutely golden as Aemon Targaryen. The beloved old Maester’s kindness, warmth, wisdom, and wry humor were necessary and treasured sources of relief in the unrelentingly grim environs of Castle Black, and Vaughn embodied those qualities and virtues perfectly. The outporing of sadness and reverence that many of the cast and crew members who had an opportunity to work with him are expressing today is remarkable. It speaks to the depth of regard that everyone held for him, an admiration that seems to have been both genuine and completely earned.

      We shall not see his like again. And now his watch is ended.

        Quote  Reply

    8. I had just watched the 1996 film version of The Crucible over the weekend, where he has a supporting role as Giles Corey. He was one of the highlights of the Wall story over the years he appeared in it.

      RIP.

        Quote  Reply

    9. I remember the scene when Maester Daemon died, I trully cried,I was moved by his performance what a magnificient actor. RIPO

        Quote  Reply

    10. This is so sad for us, but what a glorious actor’s life he led, and what a fantastic performance to be his last! To be able to keep working up until the end of a long life followed by a peaceful death? We should all be so lucky! He was a generous performer who has left us an unforgettable character to cherish.
      My condolences to his family, friends, and his cast and crew on Game of Thrones.

        Quote  Reply

    11. Aww no…RIP maester 🙁 .

      I am not really familiar with his work outside GOT, but absolutely loved his work on the show. He lighted up the screen in every scene he was in and he was always a joy to watch.

        Quote  Reply

    12. My condolences to Mr. Vaughn’s family and friends. He was actor’s actor and it was so wonderful that in one of his last roles, as Master Aemon, he was so beloved. Truly, his watch has ended, but will not be forgotten.

        Quote  Reply

    13. Jon’s scene with him in season 1, was one of those memorable moments of acting that makes you fall in love with a character. GoT is lucky to have many amazing actors in small roles, Vaughan was one of, if not the best, amongst them. A life well lived it seems!

        Quote  Reply

    14. “Egg, I dreamed that I was old” – Peter Vaughan brought the character to life and his TV death was one of the saddest moments for me. He was one of those actors, that I was worried he will die before completing his work in GoT due to his age. Thankfully, it was not the case. Rest in peace!

        Quote  Reply

    15. Very well cast. Touched on the role’s humanity, nuance and subtlety. Rest in peace.

      And now his watch *is* ended.

        Quote  Reply

    16. Jon Snow should tell Daenerys Targaryen (when Jon meets Daenerys in season 7) that HE Jon Snow personally knew her uncle Maester Aemon and that he learned alot from Maester Aemon and he was a good wise honorable man.

        Quote  Reply

    17. I see he went to school for a time in Uttoxeter which is in my home county of Staffordshire (only just – the Derbyshire border is very close to Uttoxeter). He started his career it seems in the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton which used to be in Staffordshire; I’m not sure now, it may have become a unitary local authority. He was born in Shropshire it seems. Shropshire is a beautiful county for the most part. Being from the UK I’ve seen him in many programmes over the years (lots of which have been cited above); he seems to have been able to avoid typecasting having played both villains and more decent characters (like Maester Aemon) and how nice that his final role brought his talent to the notice of an international audience.

      RIP and sympathy to his family.

        Quote  Reply

    18. Thank you Mr. Vaughan.

      “He was the blood of the dragon, but now his fire has gone out.”

        Quote  Reply

    19. Such sad though not wholly unexpected news. My thoughts are with Mr Vaughan’s family and friends.

      Mr Vaughan was perfect as Maester Aemon, one of the characters I’ve loved best. I’m so thankful GoT could benefit from the talent, skill and charisma of this extraordinary veteran actor.

      Even reading about Maester Aemon’s death in this article brought tears to my eyes. I cry every time I rewatch it. Only Hodor’s death makes me cry nearly as much.

        Quote  Reply

    20. Valar morghulis, but I guess dying peacefully at the age of 93 with family around is even better than Tyrion’s “at the age of 80, with the belly full of wine and a girl’s mouth around his…” you know what. So, the May-Faced God can be gracious sometimes.

      Finis coronat opus.

        Quote  Reply

    21. Sad news to find upon logging on here. To be performing at the caliber he did at over 90 years of age is something that many can only aspire to. He truly will be missed, both by those who connected to him through the power of his work and surely by those who had the pleasure of knowing and working with him in person.

        Quote  Reply

    22. Very sad to hear this. Don’t know much of his work outside of Game of Thrones but as Maester Aemon he brought something special to every single scene he shared with other characters. From talking to Jon in season 1 about love vs duty, lecturing Sam on love, famous Egg speech and how graceful he was in delivery in every single line. Truly honor to being to watch his work on Game of Thrones.

      And now his watch has ended.

        Quote  Reply

    23. Very sad to hear this news. I remember Peter Vaughan well in “Porridge” and “Citizen Smith”. Both were UK comedy shows.

      His portrayal of Maester Aemon was second to none. HBO couldn’t have found a better actor to play that part. It was great that he lived to such an age to fulfill that role. As the NW say – “And now his watch is ended” 🙁

      RIP Mr Vaughan

        Quote  Reply

    24. Maester Aemon always was one of my favorite tertiary characters. Peter Vaughn wonderfully brought him to life. Thanks to him for all his life’s work.

        Quote  Reply

    25. God blessed him with a beautiful death, at a really advanced age, among his beloved ones, and after a full life. We should rejoice, no reason to be sad. Godspeed Mr. Vaughn.

        Quote  Reply

    26. Rest in peace, Mr. Vaughan.

      Sou:
      God blessed him with a beautiful death, at a really advanced age, among his beloved ones, and after a full life. We should rejoice, no reason to be sad. Godspeed Mr. Vaughn.

      I agree. <3

        Quote  Reply

    27. Always liked Peter Vaughan since I first saw him in Terry Gilliam’s “Time Bandits” and enjoyed his portrayal as Maester Aemon. Among other moments, I have his scene where he reveals his identity to Jon Snow, committed to memory as one of my favorites in Game of Thrones.
      A long, great career that we can rejoice in and enjoy for years to come. No sadness in that. Godspeed, sir.

        Quote  Reply

    28. Sad news, indeed.

      One of the first characters I gravitated to when I began watching GoT was Maester Aemon, and that was in no small part due to the wonderful performance by Peter Vaughan. Was his dialog always superbly written? Yes, but most GoT dialog is superbly written, so it’s not a “Well, he got all the really great lines.” sort of thing. The role, the lines, the costume, everything could have been given to another performer who fit the requirements of casting…and I would bet money against that actor turning in the performance that Mr. Vaughan did. He really did give me the feeling that he was the sort of man he was portraying; wise, kind, noble, thoughtful.

      Actors are trained to (or, in some cases, just have a knack for) being able to portray such things. Charles Dance, for example, plays vile and evil like few others, yet I never watched him as Tywin Lannister and thought “Well, this guy is just an utter bastard, no two ways about it.”. Same for Jack Gleason in his portrayal of Joff; if Jack Gleason had really been the kind of kid Joff was, someone would have pulped him long before he ever got a role in a major television epic, so you just say “Damn, this kid is good!”.

      With Peter Vaughan, with his performance as Maester Aemon, it was different. There was something there that made it seem so natural for him as to be, really, the sort of person he really was. (Liam Cunningham tends to give off the same vibe in his performance as Davos, and, from the interviews I’ve seen him do, as near as I can tell, the only difference between Liam Cunningham and Davos Seaworth is that Liam Cunningham has a robust sense of humor- and maybe Davos would too, were he not caught up in one of the most turbulent character arcs in the history of screen drama!)

      It’s in that feeling- that feeling that Mr. Vaughan showed us a glimpse of the man he really was -that one comes away from his passing with a sense of grief, even though I never knew or even met the man. He seemed to genuinely be a wise old man with a lot of life wisdom to pass on to the rest of us. That’s a rare breed, and when they pass, you feel like the world has lost something precious. It’s not to say that there aren’t other wise old men and women in this world with a lot to teach us, rather, it’s a reminder to us all that their days are not long, and we should make an effort to learn from them while there is time to do so.

      Fare thee well, Peter Vaughan, thespian par excelance. You gave us your best, and perhaps the best of that was in your final performance. The stage will be less bright without your presence.

      Rest in peace, my good man.

      “He was The Last Dragon, but now his fire has gone out, and now, his watch has ended.” -Samwell Tarly

        Quote  Reply

    29. Sou:
      God blessed him with a beautiful death, at a really advanced age, among his beloved ones, and after a full life. We should rejoice, no reason to be sad. Godspeed Mr. Vaughn.

      Thank you, Sou, and thank you, Peter Vaughn.

        Quote  Reply

    30. What everyone else here has said. The curtain falls on an amazing lifetime of roles.

      Without counting Lyanna Stark’s death in childbirth, has there been another natural death in Game of Thrones?

        Quote  Reply

    31. We were privileged to have such a wonderful actor in such an important role. May his loved ones take comfort in knowing that he brought joy to so many and that we will always remember him.

        Quote  Reply

    32. This is the second GoT real life death. Margaret John (“Old Nan”) died shortly before her last on-screen appearance in GoT.

      I can never forget her perfectly delivered, wonderfully horrible bedtime story to Bran. “I know a story about a boy who didn’t like stories” and “Fear is for the winter…” (click, click, click)

        Quote  Reply

    33. Oh I’ve watched his works from decades past….what a life and career! Agree with John completely. Well lived and much loved, rest in peace. ❤

        Quote  Reply

    34. Wonderful actor, especially in Porridge, Our Friends in the North, and GoT. Whenever I saw him, I could not take my eyes off him. I hope in his final years he derived great satisfaction knowing the legacy of his superb work as Maester Aemon and that fans all over the world cared for him. Requiescat in pacem.

        Quote  Reply

    35. I read this headline while I was driving home and teared up while driving. What a great guy and what a long and productive life. Safe travels, Mr. Vaughn!

        Quote  Reply

    36. Rest in Peace to him

      A Fantastic last act*

      Something to be said for the fact his last onscreen words ended up being “Egg, I dreamed I was old”

      *I’m assuming GoT was his last gig?

        Quote  Reply

    37. RIP Peter Vaughan.
      Such an amazing actor. His scenes are some of my favourites in the series.

      And now his watch is ended.

        Quote  Reply

    38. Sad news…Peter Vaughan aka Maester Aemon Targaryen…Valar Morghulis!

      RIP Peter, thank you for your unforgettable work on the show, for the intelligence, class and indelible portrayal of a wise, pained and burdened man like Aemon Targaryen…and most of all thank you for the humanity you brought to the role! My condolences to his family and loved ones!

        Quote  Reply

    39. Peter Vaughan also did the voice of Denethor in the wonderful BBC Radio adaptation of Lord of the Rings, which I wore out on cassette and now listen to on CD. Even in minor roles, his talent always stood out. Thanks for much work well done and a life well lived. I cannot imagine a better choice to play Maester Aemon.

        Quote  Reply

    40. Sad to hear that he has passed away. He was such a wonderful actor.

      Requiescat in Pace Peter Vaughan.
      And now his Watch is ended.

        Quote  Reply

    Jump to the Top

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *