Game of Thrones has its reputation for major stars in minor roles, but few characters were short-changed like Stephen Dillane’s Stannis Baratheon. The actor apparently agrees as much, given his diminished role, claiming “I was entirely dependent on Liam [Cunningham] to tell me what the scenes were about.”

You’re warned of minor Game of Thrones spoilers from here on out, but despite the character’s Season 2 introduction and ongoing presence in the books, Stannis Baratheon met a conclusively bitter end in the HBO adaptation’s fifth season finale. Plenty of fans held out hope that Stephen Dillane might reprise his role in episodes to come (we never technically saw his death), but the actor tells British newspaper The Times (h/t EW) he barely thinks of his character as-is:

I’ve flicked [the show] on [since leaving] to see if I could figure out what was going on, but I couldn’t. Liam Cunningham [who plays Ser Davos Seaworth, Stannis’ right-hand man] is so passionate about the show. He invests in it in a way I think is quite moving, but it wasn’t my experience. I was entirely dependent on Liam to tell me what the scenes were about — I didn’t know what I was doing until we’d finished filming and it was too late. The damage had been done. I thought no one would believe in me and I was rather disheartened by the end. I felt I’d built the castle on non-existent foundations.

For what it’s worth, Game of Thrones’ recent seasons dispatched many lingering characters in service of the final White Walker conflict. Dillane’s Stannis almost serves as symbol of that, but there’s always hope Liam Cunningham might one day return to his one true king. Stay tuned for the latest Game of Thrones news in the meantime.

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