Young Scottish actor Daniel Portman has found the role of a lifetime in Game Of Thrones. The 22-year-old, from Glasgow, plays Podrick Payne – loyal squire to Tyrion Lannister, traveling companion to Brienne Of Tarth, and all-around excellent dude. His character is a firm favourite with fans, but in addition to inspiring numerous internet memes, his sexual prowess is the subject of great speculation.
Fans of the show will recall the incident when a trio of King’s Landing prostitutes refused to accept payment from Podrick after taking his virginity, saying simply that he was “the best they’d ever had”. The mystery surrounding this has followed Portman around, so before we could get on to talking about the upcoming finale of Thrones‘ fourth season, there was an elephant penis in the room we needed to address.
Alasdair Duncan: So when I told my friends I was interviewing you, literally every single one said …
Daniel Portman: Oh no …
AD: … they said to ask you about your penis …
DP: Oh god …
AD: … and I’m not going to put you through that, but I’m wondering, given the secrecy about what happened, a lot of people now assume that Pod has the greatest penis in Westeros. Is Pod’s package a subject that comes up in your daily life?
DP: Oh, it’s ruined my social life! The expectation on my shoulders now is huge. Everybody connects the character of Podrick to me now, so I do get asked about that quite frequently. It’s quite a lot of expectation for me to perform, you know, in certain aspects of life.
AD: Nobody knows what happened that fateful day. My theory is that Pod was just a cool guy and treated them with with a modicum of respect. What do you reckon?
DP: Yeah, I think that’s probably the most likely explanation – he was nice to them, he didn’t treat them like trash as many of the other men they typically meet would. It could just be that Podrick is very, very gifted – it could be that he has a magic penis! I don’t know, we might find out for sure one day or we might not, and that’s the beauty of it. Everyone can make up their own mind about it.
AD: Podrick has become a real favourite amongst the fans – why do you think people have latched on to him so fast?
DP: I think it’s because a lot of the fans think he’s cute – he’s adorable and all that. I think it’s because he’s genuinely nice, and he’s one of the few characters in the show that puts other people before himself, he has no interest in climbing the ladder, or chasing power, the things most other characters are obsessed with. Podrick’s content living his life as a squire. People like that about him. They like his innocence and the fact that he’s selfless. Also, a lot of people think he’s incredible in bed.
AD: The Thrones cast is incredible, and you’ve acted alongside some of the best people in the show, including several key scenes with Peter Dinklage. What was it like working with him?
DP: Peter’s a really great bloke – we have a lot of fun working together, and yeah, he’s the consummate professional. He’s an absolute gentleman, and he takes things seriously but not too seriously. He can laugh at himself. I’m very happy that I’ve been able to work with him so closely, because I’ve always been a huge admirer.
AD: Thrones has such a big cast that you get comparatively little screen time – does this mean you have to make every moment really count?
DP: In a sense, yeah – you want your scenes to stand out, but at the same time, you don’t want to be a show-off, because you want your scenes to serve the story in the best possible way. At the end of the day, Game Of Thrones is not about Podrick, he’s just a part of a much, much bigger machine. That’s the thing with every character. Some play a bigger part, some play a smaller part, but it’s all about how they all fit together. Most of the individual performances are spectacular, but it’s all about the ensemble and how they fit together.
AD: Leaving aside Podrick, who would you say is your favourite character?
DP: Jamie Lannister. I think he’s incredibly misunderstood, and I think there’s a lot more to him than everybody realises.
AD: Podrick is currently on the road with Brienne of Tarth, another of the show’s breakout characters, and you have really great chemistry with Gwendoline Christie …
DP: Oh, thank you. Gwen is just lovely in every way, she is extremely talented, and a really great actress, but we just click. The moment we started shooting together we had a really good time. It’s nice that the chemistry comes across on screen, because we’re good friends off screen. It’s also nice for both of us to get the chance to do something a bit different on the show – she’d done a lot of scenes with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and I’d done a lot with Peter Dinklage, and we both had a really good time doing that, but it was also a nice change to get the opportunity to work with other people in a different setting. It keeps things fresh. I’m glad that the fans have reacted so well to that relationship they have.
AD: When last seen, Podrick was off with Brienne to search for Arya Stark – without getting into any spoilers, do we get any kind of closure about this in the season finale?
DP: You may see Pod and Brienne next week, you may, but I don’t want to give anything away. That’s all I’ll say about that.
AD: Are you at all worried you’ll be violently killed off at some point down the line?
DP: Who knows? [Laughs]
AD: The finale is coming up on Sunday in the States, and Monday in Australia – do you have anything special planned for when it’s on? Will you be viewing it with anyone else from the cast?
DP: I don’t have any big plans, no – my plan for watching the show is usually just me and some mates getting together with a few beers. I’m a fan of it as well. I like watching the episodes for what they are. It’s nice to see people you’ve made friends with, on set and off, getting the chance to do interesting things with their characters. I can say that the finale is going to be a very sweeping finish to what has been an incredible season. It’s going to be shocking and massive. I’m quite looking forward to seeing it!
Daniel Portman is coming to Australia for Oz Comic Con Melbourne on July 5 and 6.
Tickets to the event are available now.
Game Of Thrones airs 3.30pm AEST on Monday on Showcase, with an encore screening at 7.30pm AEST.