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Game of Thrones too 'brutal' for star Stephen Dillane

By Helen Pye

Game of Thrones is too "brutal and hardcore" to watch, according to show star Stephen Dillane.

The 58-year-old also confirmed that his character Stannis Baratheon, who appeared to meet a sticky end at the hands of Brienne of Tarth in the series five finale, was dead as far as he knew.

The actor said of the worldwide hit programme, which is filmed largely in Northern Ireland: "It's pretty brutal, I couldn't watch much of that anyway. It's hardcore. Too tough for me. It's just too painful.

"It's pretty intense, quite overwhelming. The whole world of it is pretty overwhelming."

Asked what he got out of starring in the massively popular show, he replied bluntly: "Money."

And quizzed on whether he got any professional or personal satisfaction from the series, he reportedly said: "Er, no."

Despite saying he did not "blame" people who stopped watching after his character ordered his daughter to be burnt alive, Dillane backtracked and said the show was "fantastic".

He added: "I don't dismiss it at all. I think it's fantastic. I think it's an extraordinary thing. An amazing phenomenon, a really amazing phenomenon.

"Money is the main thing that I got out of it. It's an odd situation - there is a kind of etiquette around these things. I think it's extraordinary. I am not dismissing it at all."

And in response to the question of whether Stannis - last seen about to be beheaded - was really dead, the actor replied: "As far as I know, yeah."

The series has made locations in Northern Ireland world famous, and as well as pumping money into the local economy through its production, it has also bolstered tourism.

Game of Thrones returns to Sky Atlantic on April 25

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