‘It was madness’: Game of Thrones stars on how it changed their lives
On the eve of the final series, we ask 10 of its stars what the hit show has meant to them
Carice van Houten (Melisandre)
Now filming Sky series Temple and a film called The Glass House. Has had a child with partner, fellow actor Guy Pearce
When Carice van Houten goes out in public, she often notices people giving her searching looks, as if they cant quite place where theyve seen her before. When a woman came up once and asked her that, van Houten replied with the words, The night is dark and full of terrors a key line from her terrifying fire priestess Melisandre. The girl almost screamed, she recalls with satisfaction. Not just because she recognised someone from TV, but as if she really thought I was scary. Which was fun!
Prior to Game of Thrones, the Dutch actor was best known for her smouldering performance in Paul Verhoevens 2006 thriller Black Book, playing a Jewish singer who joins the resistance against the Nazis. She joined the show at the start of season two, having turned down an opportunity to audition as Game of Thrones character Cersei Lannister a year earlier.
Melisandre, she admits, was a struggle in the beginning. The things Id done before, in film or theatre, were tragicomic roles where the focus was on human flaws, fears and doubts. This confident, religious, extreme character seemed to lack all of that. So I really had to work hard.
By season five, Melisandre reveals her frailties, but not before engineering some of the most horrifying scenes in the series. When I had to kill the little girl Shireen [the daughter of Stannis Baratheon, whom she burns at the stake], I thought, okay wow, this character has gone to the next level. I was quite shocked reading that, but at the same time I thought, this is such a bold, daring scene to do.