The many, many controversies surrounding the quality of Game of Thrones‘ eighth and final season notwithstanding, Alfie Allen’s Emmy nomination is surely well deserved. As the actor responsible for portraying the series-long salvation of Theon Greyjoy explained during his recent appearance on The Late Late Show, however, he didn’t think it was actually going to last that long. At least, that’s what he was led to believe thanks to a prank the scriptwriters tried (and failed) to pull on him back in season two.
As Allen explained to host James Corden, he thought he was going to die back in season two. “The script was given to me and basically I give this rousing speech, if I may say so myself, and at the end of this speech, Bran pops out from somewhere and stabs me in the chest and said, ‘This is my Winterfell, not yours,'” he explained. Thrones was already a massive hit by the second season, but considering the show’s penchant for killing off major characters left and right, Allen thought nothing of it.
“So I took it on the chin and got on with it. I think three weeks passed where I had finished my shooting for that season and people in the cast were telling [David Benioff and D.B. Weiss], because they’d given me this fake script with a fake ending, that, ‘Maybe you should tell him it’s fake because he hasn’t called in yet.'”
Allen joked that he didn’t respond negatively to Greyjoy’s seemingly sudden death “because I’m such a nice guy.” Ultimately, he added, the Thrones staff decided to let him know that the script was fake and that Theon would be coming back for more. “People decided to tell them, ‘You should call him because he might be tearing his hair out,'” he said. “But I wasn’t. I was sunbathing.”
Of course, Allen wasn’t the only cast member to fall victim to Benioff and Weiss’ machinations. The writers also tried to pull a fast one on Kit Harrington, who played Jon Snow during its eight-season run. “There was a White Walker that burnt all his hair off,” Allen recalled. “So he was going to have to wear a bald cap for the rest of the series.”