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Toby Osmond Interview: Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones New Prince of Dorne

The final episode of Game of Thrones introduced a few new characters - including a brand new Prince of Dorne, who was sitting in the council that elected Bran the Broken as new ruler. He may have only said a couple of words, but fans of Dorne were thrilled to see the Kingdom represented - and to wonder exactly who he could be. The last that anyone saw of a ruler in Dorne in Game of Thrones was when the ruling Prince, Doran, was overthrown and killed by the Sand Snakes. The Snakes themselves also met sticky ends, leaving Dorne seemingly ruler-less, until the new Prince popped up in the finale.

Screen Rant sat down with Toby Osmond, who plays the Prince, to talk about how he managed to land one of the last new character roles in the worldwide phenomenon. Osmond is known for appearing in the Channel 5 show Henry VIII and His Six Wives, playing Thomas Cromwell, and Tom Paton's award-winning Black Site. He's also got a few new projects in the works, with action-horror Stairs in post-production, and is currently filming historical drama Summerland.

So - you managed to get in to just that very last episode of Game of Thrones...

Yeah, that was sneaky, wasn't it? [laughs] Literally, I was like 'don't close the door, hold the elevator, I'll be over here'!

How did you manage to land that, was it a normal audition, or did you know someone involved with the show?

Oh, God no, I auditioned. So, it came through my lofty agent, and it was actually quite a run of the mill audition in London, for Nina Gold's company. It was quite funny, actually, the casting. There's often miscommunications because the client and production are speaking to the casting director, the casting directors are speaking to the agent, and the agent is speaking to the actor, so often handy little tidbits of information get lost along the chain. So, funnily enough, I ended up being in the audition, and because of the security I didn’t know what the role was, they just said that they wanted one charismatic man and four powerful men, and my agent said, 'dear boy, I think we know that you’re not a  powerful man'. So they put me up for the charismatic man. And we knew it was for Thrones, but we didn’t know what the character was at all.

So I go into the audition room and am told ‘ok, imagine you’re the leader, you're the commander, you’re in charge, and you're in a war council meeting, and your generals are suggesting tactics to you. You've got to basically argue with them. You're Dornish, you know, and they're very laid back, passionate but easy-going about stuff, don’t take anything too seriously. I've done a lot of commercial auditions where they'll give you just complex instruction, and you'll have to do it without speaking. And I haven't been sent a script because of the security at the show.

So I said, okay, do you want me to do that without speaking? And she said 'no, no, I want you to ad lib it all in a Dornish accent'. And I was like… ookay! [laughs] And she said, 'didn’t your agent tell you you were doing this?' And I was like, oh not really, but whatever. Let's do it. It was fine. It's fine! And I just went off on a rant in a semi-Spanish-y accent. And somehow they let me do [the role]!

So have you been a fan of the show since the beginning? Did you read the books or did you get into it part way through?

No, 100% I'm a fan. My father, who sadly passed away, he actually passed away after the first season had finished, but before the second season started, he actually got me into it and he watched it before anyone else I knew, before I'd even heard of it. I watched it with him, and I was hooked. It was that last line, Jaime Lannister, after pushing Bran out of the tower, says ‘the things I do for love’ -  it was so fantastic, just brilliant, so I’ve been into it since the beginning. But I’ve only read the first three books. And I loved them. But I’ve got this rule, where I’ll read some sort of fiction, something that I’m definitely going to love like Game of Thrones, and then I’ll try to read a book which I feel I should read, like a classic, so literally, I’ve been reading Don Quixote for about three years now. [laughs]

And did you get a character name from the books, or were you just the 'Prince of Dorne'?

So there were several things bandied around. Someone mentioned a possible name, but I think it was an invented name. So it would have just been a series name. A lot of people have suggested Quentyn Martell, of course. But just doing the math I thought well, Prince Doran’s kid… I’m just, I'm too old, unfortunately. There's no way I could be a brother of Trystane because he could probably be my son, to be honest. So I just figured I was the younger brother of Doran and the Red Viper. Or, there was an interesting fan theory about another house in SunSpeare and Dorne, I can’t remember the name of it. But I’d like to think that I’m a Martell.

And Pedro Pascal [Oberyn], what a fantastic character as well, I was shocked. I was like "are you sure you’re casting ME as his younger brother", which is what I was assuming it was. Also, fun fact, I was given his scimitar, his sword that was custom made for his character. But he never used it. He used his spear of course. So yeah, on set, I had this beautiful snake-headed scimitar. It had, I think it was a cobra on the top of the hilt. And then the cross guard heads were snakes as well. Beautiful, beautiful sword.

And if you weren't part of House Martell or from Dorne, who would you have liked to play in the show?

I feel like possibly maybe a Targaryen. But that’s greedy because there’s only two of them. Or if we’re honest, probably I would have been from Highgarden, probably a Tyrell. Because I’m quite a foppish dandy, to be honest, I can really imagine hanging out with Loras and Renly, in nice silk gowns and stuff, neckerchiefs,  so probably a Tyrell. I’d like to think that I’d be a Targaryen, but they’re all second choices, Dorne’s where it’s at!

So as a Martell, how did you feel about how Dorne was handled in the show?

Well, I mean I love Dorne, and the Red Viper of Dorne is one of my all-time top favorite characters of the whole show. He's brilliant and he's kind of this fated hero, who dies particularly quickly. You don’t see any flaws in the character, he’s just brilliant, the only flaw you see, really, is that he was perhaps too arrogant in the fight against the mountain. He should have just finished him off, but of course, he wanted justice.

I mean, I would like to have seen more, Dorne... #DorneSpinoff, #DorneSpinoff. [laughs]

But there’s always time, there’s always time. They’re doing a few spin-offs and they’re all prequels at the moment,  but fingers crossed. #DorneSpinoff. I love them, I would have liked to have seen more of Dorne in the series, especially more of the last Prince of Dorne [chuckles], fairly obviously. Also I think that the Sand Snakes, there are something like eight in the books, and there’s only three in the tv show, and to be honest, they are hard mother-fudging assassins [in the books], but when you first see them fighting against Jaime, Bronn and the Dornish guards, they lose. And I mean, they should have won that. I think the Sand Snakes should have won that, and then when they actually get killed, on the ships, it’s like ‘are you serious’? They’re just dropping like flies, I mean… f**k the Greyjoys! Sand Snakes are awesome.

How did you feel about their decisions for how the show ended in general, as a fan and as someone who got to be a part of it?

To be honest, I mean, I’m so subjective about it because I was just so excited to be in it. And in the runup watching it, I was enjoying it as a fan. But I also have this little compartment in my mind. It was just nervously wondering, am I going to be in it, are they going to cut me out…

But, the cinematography, the filmic scenes in the final episode especially, was stunning. I actually really enjoyed the last season. That there were just these massive battles, like the battle of Winterfell, I really liked a lot of that. Cersei and Jaime, that beautiful scene where they’re lying together in the last episode, and I loved the dragon under the snow,  when Jon’s going to see Daenerys, I thought it was beautiful, I thought it was lovely. I would have liked to see more of certain things, but I  can’t complain... I was in it!

What would you like to see more of other than, obviously, The Prince of Dorne?

Yeah, well, I mean, other than my face [laughs], I would like to have seen more of Daenerys. I would have liked to see more of Grey Worm, as well, also more Gendry because Gendry’s story arc catapulted in the last series. Like, he really shot up. So it would have been nice to see more of him experiencing that. And how he’s coming to terms with it. I'll tell you what else I would've liked to see -  there was no definitive conclusion to Ellaria Sand. Now, we've left her at the end of season seven in a dungeon under King's Landing, Cersei’s prisoner, watching her daughter die of poison, but we don't actually see her die. We don't see Ellaria Sand die. So let it be known. Episode 1, series one of 10 of the Dornish spin-off will be Dorne going and rescuing Ellaria Sand from below King’s Landing.

Game of Thrones Season 4 Lion Wolf Logo

That would be a fantastic start to a series.

Definitely! But, obviously, there's no permission from HBO whatsoever to say that, so please don’t sue me HBO, please just make it! [laughs]

Do you have any other ideas for what you would like to see in a spin-off from the history of the world of Game of Thrones?

Oh, that’s a rich tapestry, isn't it?  I think is an easy one to say that it'd be nice to see dragons, the historical dragons and that would be cool. It would be interesting to see the devolution of the dragons as well, because it is very clear that the first dragons, the ancient ones, were these massive beasts like Daenerys’. Whereas as they go on and they're held captive, they get smaller and smaller - I'm sure that it would be cool to see that. It would be nice to see Dorne, historical Dorne, because it is a beautiful culture. Sorry, what was I saying? I mean, you're called Screen Rant, and I am a ranter!

It's fantastic. You can rant away! I love that you're so much of a fan of the show already. And that was a huge thing for you. And the experience of that I imagine was intense, especially with all the security around it.

Oh the security, the security, yeah. The security was nuts, at the set that we were shooting it was like a fortress. And it was literally a sort of solid metal fence, couldn't see through it, all the way around the set. And every time we left, it's funny every time we left after shooting, we'd go out at night but in these dark-windowed cars, and there were all these screaming teenage Spanish fans. I've had a haircut since, I was in a film by a guy called Tom Paton, a film called Stairs which is coming out later this year, and we're all playing mercenaries. So, of course, the long, curly locks had to go, but at the time I had this long, long curly hair, and my silhouette was the same as Kit Harington. Unfortunately, I'm much older than him in real life, but through darkened glass, I am a convincing Kit. So these Spanish teenagers were just hurling themselves at the car, going ‘Kit! Kit!', which was great fun. I was just imagining that they were saying ‘Toby, Toby’!

Amazing! And as you've mentioned, you're doing Stairs and then you have another film in the works as well, right?

Yeah, I'm not sure what I can say about it, really, but you can look up Summerland on IMDB, and I won’t go into detail, but you can just see that the caliber of the cast is fantastic, there’s a Dame, I’m doing a scene with a Dame which I’ve never done. A Dame is the female equivalent of a Knight, in England. And it’s funny, I was thinking, before I got the role, I was wondering ‘is this to do with being cast in Game of Thrones?’ because I had the audition before the episode had actually aired, but I was like ‘hang on, Toby, have you ever been in a scene with a Dame before? No you haven’t, of course it’s Game of Thrones, you idiot!’ [laughs]

So yeah, I mean I'm so grateful to Dan and David. And also there was a producer involved in casting called Ollie Butler, Oliver Butler. And obviously, my agent. I'm just so grateful for the chance to be involved in Game of Thrones, I mean as a fan, as a bit of a carrying the torch for my father kind of thing. And just what it means, for my career as well, it’s just fantastic.

I can imagine it has just been a phenomenal experience.

Then there’s a funny story, I was really getting on with Lino (Facioli) who plays Robin Arryn on set, and I don’t know if I should say, I got him his first cocktail, basically. It was a bit naughty, I think he’s barely 18, but anyway… it was a mocktail, honest! [laughs]

That is a very Dornish thing to do!

It is! I've never claimed to be a good influence on anyone [laughs]. Yeah. And you're not the first person to say that I act in a very Dornish way. In fact, there was a lovely point during the filming when Dan came up to me, (of Dan and Dave fame, D&D as they’re known), and this is on the last day of filming actually, he was going around and speaking to all the cast and stuff and he was giving gifts to all the ongoing cast members, the really long time cast members. It was really beautiful, I felt like I was on the last day of Star Wars or something, it was a really emotional moment. I'm so happy to be part of it. They came up to me and I'm like, f*ck, why is he speaking to me, I’ve only been here a week? But he said, 'Toby, you’ve really epitomized the Dornish character'. And I was like... I’m going to take that as a compliment. I can be taken either way, but thank you very much. Dan. Thank you! Yeah. Cast to type as they say… and with that, I think I’ll go and get a glass of Dornish red!

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