Game of Thrones: Worthing's unlikely links to the smash-hit fantasy TV show

Brenock O'Connor from Worthing, centre, was involved at a pivotal moment in Game of Thrones. Picture: HBO
Brenock O'Connor from Worthing, centre, was involved at a pivotal moment in Game of Thrones. Picture: HBO

Spring might be coming, but on the small screen winter is here, as the smash-hit fantasy show Game of Thrones returns with its final season on Monday.

But the worldwide phenomenon has some unlikely links to our town and the nearby areas.

Gwendoline Christie plays Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones. Pictured on the red carpet for the final season premiere. Picture: Getty Images

Gwendoline Christie plays Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones. Pictured on the red carpet for the final season premiere. Picture: Getty Images

One of the breakout stars of the ensemble cast is Gwendoline Christie, who has played the noble warrior Brienne of Tarth since 2012. The 40-year-old was reportedly born in Worthing and grew up in Small Dole, a village nestled in the South Downs in the Horsham district.

Read more local Game of Thrones news:

Sussex Game of Thrones actor to stand for election

Tributes to Game of Thrones actor Peter Vaughan

Brenock O'Connor, from Worthing, played a pivotal role in the show

Brenock O'Connor, from Worthing, played a pivotal role in the show

Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams speaks to West Sussex students about her career

The 6ft 3in actress and model cuts an imposing figure in the show as the loyal shield maiden, who swore allegiance to House Stark and saved the lives of Arya and Sansa Stark and Jaime Lannister during the show's run.

Christie has since gone on to find box office success in the latest Star Wars films, playing First Order stormtrooper Captain Phasma.

Another local actor who played a small but pivotal role in the series was 19-year-old Brenock O'Connor. When he was 13, the Chatsmore Catholic High School student from Sackville Road, Worthing, was picked to play Olly - a young member of the Night's Watch, an order of reformed outlaws and criminals who guard the Wall, the realm's last defence against the white walkers which rule the frozen North.

And in the fifth season, which aired in 2015, he shocked fans around the world by stabbing main character Jon Snow in the chest and leaving him for dead in a cliffhanger finale.

Speaking to the Herald at the time, he said: “I was absolutely gobsmacked with what they (scriptwriters) had given me. It was great fun to film. It was quite a weird atmosphere on set that day because Kit (Harrington, who plays Jon Snow) has been there from the beginning and he wanted it to look as good as it could.

“The brother of one of my drama school mates is Jon Snow’s biggest fan and he wasn’t too happy with me.”

While Brenock’s character Olly may have betrayed Snow – the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch made the orphan his steward following the death of his parents – off-screen he had nothing but praise for his co-star.

“Kit is one of the nicest people I have ever met,” said Brenock. “One of the first times I saw him he was the image of cool. I walked onto the set and he was sat there in his Jon Snow costume with ear phones in and cigarette in hand. It was incredible to work with him.”

Prior to filming, Brenock had not watched the show but said he had since become a big fan.

He said: “I don’t know anyone else’s stories until I see them on TV. That’s great as well because I’m a fan of the show. Since I have been watching it and getting up to speed I’ve absolutely loved the show.”

Do you know anyone else locally who has appeared in the show? Get in touch via our Facebook page and email.