The actor behind Lancel Lannister shares his thoughts about his character's crusade for fairness.
HBO: It's been a few seasons since we saw Lancel. Did you give any thought about what happened in the time between the Battle of the Blackwater and now?
Eugene Simon: I think the way in which Lancel is presented to us now is given so much meaning because of the time that he's been gone. He believes the only reason he's still alive is because the gods have a divine purpose for him. Lancel feels that in order for there to be peace in the world, everyone must play by same set of rules. And to him, the gods provide those rules and they're unbreakable.
So he's living a second life by the grace of their will to correct not just the evils of his life, but the evil of others too -- Littlefinger or Cersei, in particular. He doesn't view his feelings for them as personal. It's not revenge; it is a divine mandate given to him by the gods. For Lancel, people like Cersei are the biggest challenge of his spiritual life.
HBO: What are your thoughts about Lancel? Even his dad discounts him as a fanatic.
Eugene Simon: It's complicated. Whilst one may take umbrage at the choices in his life – he is a bully, a homophobe, an orthodox zealot – it is only through trauma he has arrived at this place. His goals in life are, in my opinion, misguided, but I do sympathize with him. I have to; it's important that I do as an actor. Because Lancel would not be able to live with himself if he felt he was an evil person. I don't think any evil character thinks that they are evil – they think they have insight that people don't. Lancel believes that too.
HBO: Do you think it took much prodding for him to unburden himself to the High Sparrow?
Eugene Simon: I think it didn't require a great deal of effort for him to reveal his incestuous relationship with Cersei. The real issue for him is to redeem his sin and to do that, he has to bring Cersei with him. He's totally bound to Cersei. His redemption and her redemption are one and the same. And his primary challenge at the moment is to pay the penance for that sin.
HBO: Too bad Cersei doesn't feel the same.
Eugene Simon: Lancel has a lot of convincing to do!
HBO: His other challenge is Littlefinger. Can you discuss their confrontation?
Eugene Simon: It was the first time I met Aidan [Gillen] and worked with him, and I enjoyed the scene very much. I was very intrigued by it. When looking at the script, my primary question was, "Why did Lancel let him go? Why not seize him and throw him in jail?" He knows well that Littlefinger has a great deal to atone for, but I think that Lancel chooses to let him go because in his eyes, Littlefinger's time will come. He almost adopts an attitude of karma towards Littlefinger – what goes around will almost certainly come around.
HBO: How do you think Lancel took Littlefinger's statement that they both peddle fantasies?
Eugene Simon: To Lancel, this is proof just how far gone the sinner before him is. I don't think Lancel was affected by it. To me, he's numb to that particular slight. His sense of tranquility and calm at achieving his goal remains.
HBO: Is everyone underestimating the Sparrows and the Faith Militant? They've taken two queens now.
Eugene Simon: They are. "You are the one, we are the many." It's simply a question of numbers. But also, culturally, the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros are bound to this faith, so the Sparrows and the Faith Militant know they have the law on their side. Theirs is a deeply rooted ideology borne out of necessity for change. Someone has got to look after the impoverished, which they do: They feed them, they clothe them, they house them. This is one of reasons I have sympathy for Lancel and his cause. Although I don't agree with it, it's borne out of disparity. What they get is coming to them.
HBO: Which god would you pray to?
Eugene Simon: I'd pray to the new gods. The crone – just to have a little blessing of wisdom, and the mother – to feel that someone is giving me a break when something bad happens.
HBO: Who would you want to have scenes with?
Eugene Simon: I would love to have a one-on-one interaction with Kevan, to explore the father-son relationship that obviously has disintegrated. And a one-on-one discussion with the High Sparrow – I want to know more about how Lancel was found, what their relationship is like when there is no one in the room. Do they talk? Do they laugh? And Cersei – I would love for Lancel's history to be accessed more.
HBO: Which would be your ideal pet: dragon, direwolf or Ser Pounce?
Eugene Simon: I don't need any of them. I have the gods on my side!
HBO: Which region would you most want to live?
Eugene Simon: Between the two continents, I would like to live in Westeros… probably in Highgarden. It just sounds like a nice place to relax. Highgarden is probably like a 5-star Four Seasons.
HBO: Who would you want to see on the Iron Throne?
Eugene Simon: Bronn would be hilarious. He has a lot of Tyrion-esqe virtues: When you put power in his hands, he does the right thing, and when you don't, he does what he needs to survive.
HBO: You're invited to a GoT wedding. Do you go?
Eugene Simon: I think I'd be a bit too nervous. I would say I have to feed my llama, any excuse to get out of it. Even when a wedding goes well, it's not worth it.