Any actor who signs up to be on Game of Thrones does so with the knowledge that their character can and will be killed off in bloody fashion at any point, so it would be silly to complain about such a thing happening. Alexander Siddig, who played the Dornish Prince Doran in Seasons 5 and 6, understands that it was only a matter of time before his character met a grisly end and has no problem with that. However, he does take issue with how his character’s death was handled.
In an interview with StarTrek.com discussing Siddig’s time on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the actor got on the topic of his Game of Thrones death from the show’s most recent season and revealed that Doran was originally supposed to die at the end of Season 5, but the decision was made to move it to Season 6. Siddig argues that this was a move that made little sense to him.
“I was like, ‘Okay, life goes on.’ But there was something wrong about that because I had been contracted for four episodes in the following season, so if they were going to kill me off at the end of the last season why would they contract me for those four episodes? Because it costs them money whether I do them or not, so it’s not great business sense to do it just in case.”
As for what prompted HBO to make the change, Siddig has a couple of theories. “There was an enormous amount of fan excitement when I got named to be on the show, and everyone was like, ‘Oh my god, yes, Doran Martell. He’s going to be great as Doran Martell.’ That might have been the kiss of death.” Alternatively, Siddig also reckons that it may have just been a case of him blowing the whole thing and upsetting someone. “Or maybe I just screwed up,” he said. “Maybe I said the wrong thing to the wrong person.”
To be fair to Siddig, the entire Dornish plot has been a mess ever since it was introduced in Season 5, so there probably wasn’t much he could have done to make his time on the show last longer, as HBO clearly had no idea what they were doing with his character or that story to begin with. Evidently, the whole situation has left Siddig prone to creating HBO conspiracy theories, as the actor also mentions in the same interview that he thinks the network deliberately leaked episodes of the show last year in order to build hype:
“The more secretive it is, the more special it is. And certainly Game of Thrones plays that. They misinform the crowd and they give them tidbits to send them in wrong directions. So, for example, last season, I believe that the first few episodes were stolen and downloaded online, and everybody got to see them before the show actually aired, and everybody was furious at HBO and whatnot. I don’t know if you remember. I am almost positive that those four episodes were leaked by HBO themselves. So there is an enormous amount of spin going on.”
HBO maintains that those episodes were leaked from a press screener, but hey, pretty much every other topic under the sun has its tinfoil hat crowd, so why should Game of Thrones be any different?