Acting isn’t always as glamorous as it sounds.
Case in point: Game of Thrones star John Bradley, whose Samwell Tarly has been involved in what may be the two most disgusting scenes from Season 7 — and neither occurred anywhere near a battlefield.
In the season premiere, Sam’s situation at The Citadel, where the young scholar had gone to study and train to be a maester, was revealed to be something less than academic heaven. He was shown serving gruel and cleaning chamber pots in a creative montage that was good for a few yuks along with one big “Yuck.”
Was it disgusting for Bradley, too?
“In place of fecal matter, we used soaking wet, fruit spongecake,” he says. (And, we’ve already lost our appetite.)
“The spongecake is not necessarily unpleasant at 6 in the morning when you’re doing your first take and it’s quite fresh. But, when you’ve been doing it for 12 hours, especially with all the lights and the way it gets smooshed around all day, it’s not much (less) unpleasant than the real thing,” he tells USA TODAY. “Less and less acting is required as the shooting day goes on.”
Bradley is at the center of another nauseating scene in the next episode, as Sam performs risky greyscale removal on Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), who appears tortured as layers of crusty skin and infected pus are pulled from his chest. (And we’re not getting that appetite back anytime soon.)
“The combination of our wonderful prosthetic department and the way Iain Glen sold it, you really got a sense of agony of him having his skin flayed off,” Bradley says.
Sam disobeys orders and performs the risky procedure partly to pay a debt to Jorah’s father, Lord Commander Mormont, who protected Sam at Castle Black.
“It’s a huge risk for Samwell to do that. He could kill Jorah Mormont, he could contract greyscale, he could infect the entire Citadel,” Bradley says. “But Sam wouldn’t be able to sleep comfortably if he didn’t at least try to repay his debt to Lord Commander Mormont.”
It’s good somebody’s able to sleep at all after those two scenes.