Oh, absolutely, absolutely. The thing about Lancel I’d say is that he is pretty much a glorified informant. He’s a glorified informant and this is when I say when I go back to the whole naiveté thing, because it’s that naiveté that makes him so open to the will of others. And Tyrion and Cersei just have such an opportunity to use him for their own ends, which, ultimately, is what "Game of Thrones" is all about. It’s all about power and how you dominate that power over your peers.
I just watched your scene with Peter Dinklage from the upcoming episode. I love the way that Lancel goes from the "queen's man" who is very cocky to sort of begging for mercy.
Absolutely. That's obviously a perfect example of the kind of power that characters such as Tyrion and Cersei manage to lord over him. Lancel does change. When I read the script, I couldn't help but think to myself, "My God, what an arrogant, pathetic almost child this guy is." But at the same time, I kind of had this sort of inherent mercy toward him, really, because all he’s trying to do is impress upon people this authority that he just doesn’t have. He just doesn't have it. He’s doesn't have the, almost if you like, the guts.
At the same time, I would never kind of call him a coward. I would never go as far as to call him coward, which is why later in the series hopefully you'll understand why. That scene was definitely one of my favorites to do, and trust me, you're going to be seeing more of that as the series progresses.
So will we see a lot more of you this season than last?
Yeah, Lancel’s involvement is increased within the second season, as it is in accordance with the books, really. But his storyline very much sticks to his family. Playing Lancel I have, really, kind of a secretive character sort of oriented around the Lannisters that I stick with. I have Joffrey, played by Jack [Gleeson], I have Tyrion played by Peter [Dinklage], Cersei played by Lena [Headey] and then the Hound [Rory McCann] will come in, too, occasionally.
But he’s very family orientated. And what I really liked about that is that you're going to see just how committed to his family he is, as is in accordance with the books, which I thought was a fantastically well written part of the script. So he will be appearing more and I’m looking forward to how people will respond to that.
Do you think he changes a lot, or remains sort of somebody that you may not like, but maybe you forgive because he’s just getting screwed over?
He does change. There's no other way to describe it. There is this kind of transformation with this guy. Very often we see him acting in a sort of slimy and sort cowardly way. But he isn't the coward, and the reason I say that is because of the transformation that we see in Lancel as the series progresses.
And what I saw when I read the books was that by the time that we arrive with Lancel a few years after his love with Cersei, he’s just a completely different guy. He’s this tortured sort of man as opposed to this aspiring boy. And I have a huge amount of pity for Lancel. But at the same time, that is the way they’re world works when you play the Game of Thrones. So you have to kind of take it as it comes, really.
Would you have liked to have grown up in a family like the Lannisters?
[Laughs.] Well, the Lannisters are certainly my favorite family. They’re definitely my favorite family because I always see them as the most human family, the most real in terms of their limits, their sort of fundamental limits of humanity.
But if I was to grow up with one of the families of the Seven Kingdoms, I would feel that I would like to grow up as one of the Ironborn. It’s this sort of question of growing up with this incredibly hard upbringing. You don't find any much stronger personalities than the Ironborn, and you’ll see that more and more as this series progresses because Theon Greyjoy has already become such a fantastic character, as he is in the books, and all credit to Alfie Allen for his performance. So I think if I had to choose any other house other than the Lannisters, it would be House Greyjoy.
How did you get involved with "Game of Thrones" in the first place?
I originally auditioned for the role of Joffrey Baratheon. And the role, rightly so, was kind of made for Jack Gleeson. There's no one who could have played him better, really. It’s really such an incredible performance.
But I was brought back in to read for the role of Lancel. And I think it was very much two auditions that I did, really, and that was it. I did feel kind of a strong connection to the character. There wasn’t a huge amount of script for me to read, but I sympathized with him, as I’ve mentioned before, given his love for Cersei.
But it was very much out of the blue for me. I’d be lying to you if I said that I saw this part and I immediately kind of took to him. I sympathized with him, but having read the books, having read the script, having been exposed to him, but it’s only now have I really kind of fallen in line with him and do I sympathize with him and do I emote with him. And the part just really, I hope I’ve kind of made it into my own, really, so we’ll see how the audience responds to it.
You said you originally auditioned for Joffrey. Are you glad you didn't get that part? He’s really turning out to be like the most reviled character.