By Katherine J Igoe published
Warning: Game of Thrones season 8 spoilers lie ahead. Vladimír Furdík, the stuntman-turned-Biggest Big Bad of Game of Thrones (except for Cersei, that is) is now free to take off allllll that makeup and speak freely about his role throughout the show and particularly in season 8. "For me, when he died on the TV, I said, 'Now I am free,'" he says. And a good thing, too. Fans are fascinated with the character—mostly mute and terrifying, but with the occasional evil smirk thrown in to keep things interesting—and the man who plays him, who is entirely hot.
So what do we know about the Slovakian actor/stuntman/choreographer? Other than his rugged handsomeness, I mean.
He's a crazy-good stuntman.
Furdík has been in the movie business for a long time: He most notably worked on Skyfall, Robin Hood (2010), and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, but it looks like he's been working since the 1990s.
I mean, just look at the skill:
There's a zero percent chance I wouldn't stab myself right in the eyeball, which is (clearly the only reason) why I'm not a stuntwoman.
He actually replaced the original Night King actor.
The Night King was played by Richard Brake in seasons 4 and 5. Furdík is the White Walker that Jon Snow kills with his Valyrian steel sword in season 5. (Remember that guy—the look of shock when his weapon makes contact with Jon's sword before he's exploded into a million pieces of ice? That guy.)
Furdík says he isn't totally sure why he was replaced, but he says he loved playing the Night King and even gave him an internal life—saying his motivation is, purely and simply, revenge on the people who made him.
His makeup took six HOURS every day of shooting.
The costuming only took a half hour to put on, but to get that full face-and-crown situation happening, as well as the hands, took foreeeeever apparently. Honestly, I just wouldn't take it off, were I in that situation.
He's friends with the other GoT actors.
Considering how awful his character is on the show, the fact that he clearly gets along with and is beloved by the people who work with him just warms my heart.
Love from Podrick!
This particular shot from the pivotal battle scene just makes me giggle, and I love that alternative ending:
A photo posted by on
And this is a little look at him and Arya/Maisie Williams, who definitely worked with him a lot to get that final sequence:
The Arya-Night King scene was tough for him.
Furdik admitted to The Hollywood Reporter that the long, grueling, 55-day shoot for the big Night King battle was exhausting, particularly the pivotal scene in which Arya jumps at him, he catches her, and then she stabs him.
"She was on a wire, in a harness, jumping many times. It wasn’t just the one time; it was maybe 15 times. When I have to hold her under the jaw and it looks like she dies, we had to spend a lot of energy on that particular scene.
"It was very, very difficult. We are very good friends. We know each other. It wasn’t easy for me to [pretend to] hurt her. When I grabbed her under the jaw, it wasn’t easy [on a practical level].
"If you make a bad move—if you don’t grab her well—she could have an injury. So I was under pressure and she was under pressure. It was not an easy day."
He doesn't speak in this featurette, but you can see how they got the shot using multiple sets and setups (it's towards the end):
His method for the Night King-Bran scene was hilarious.
Speaking to Vulture, Furdik said that director Miguel Sapochnik told him, "Bran, he is not man. He is a cake. And you would like to eat this cake. And I would like to see you acting, you’re walking to him, you’re walking like you’re looking for that cake, which is waiting for you under the tree."
He added, "When I walk, you can see what Miguel said: 'Don’t be a soldier. No. Just walk, confident. There’s a cake.'" I love it. BRB, going back to re-watch the scene with that in mind.
For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.
Katherine’s a Boston-based contributing editor at Marie Claire online who covers celebrity, fashion, entertainment, and lifestyle—from “The Bachelor” to Everlane to Meghan Markle. She also edits the Couples + Money series, so she’s always looking for volunteers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Igoe: “I go to the store,” not “Her huge ego".
18 Cell Phone Purses You'll Use Every Day
Allow me to introduce you to your new favorite accessory.
By Shelby Comroe
When Are We Getting a New Season of 'The Witcher'?
The third season of Netflix's fantasy epic is already underway.
By Quinci LeGardye
Self-Tanners That Won't Streak (We Swear)
Bronze up dull, dry skin.
By Julia Marzovilla
'Bridgerton' Season 2: Everything We Know
The viscount and his new love interest will hit your queue in March.
By Andrea Park
'Manifest' Season 4: Everything We Know
It's official: The once-canceled show is returning for a final chapter (or two).
By Jenny Hollander
'Euphoria' Season 2: Everything We Know So Far
New episodes will drop weekly until the end of February.
By Neha Prakash
The 47 Best Comedy Series Ever
They'll make you laugh until your face hurts.
By Kayleigh Roberts
The 27 Best 2000s TV Shows
No low-rise jeans necessary.
By Bianca Rodriguez
Let's Unpack the 'Succession' Season 3 Finale
Tom Wambsgans has entered the chat.
By Neha Prakash
The 13 Best Drama Movies of 2021 (So Far)
By Kayleigh Roberts
The 23 Best True Crime TV Shows to Binge-Watch
Real life can be a lot scarier than fiction.
By Cady Drell